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Should XO Owners do something else?

A9few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from the One Laptop Per Child campaign asking me 1) to promote their 2008 Give 1 Get 1 campaign and 2) consider donating another laptop. I thought about it, but in the end I decided not to. I’ve been seeing things like Jessamyn’s librarian.net post does giving out laptops help or hinder the digital divide? and the June 5, 2008 Slate article The $100 Distraction Device.

I admit to being torn. On the one hand, I definitely see the internet as a great tool for lifelong learning. I’ve raved about the MIT OpenCourse project and Berkeley course lectures in many places on the web. Governments around the world have great kids pagesthat are very informative and seem fun. On the other hands, while research is just beginning to be done on the effect of computers on learning, it appears to be leaning against providing computers at a young age — the very audience of the OLPC. So I’ve decided to target the coming year’s giving in other areas. If you’re an XO Laptop owner, what conclusion did you come to and why?

I strongly encourage you to read Jessamyn’s post because I feel it has some particularly robust comments.

A few words about my XO before I let this subject go. My spouse and I still like it. We use it 90% for web browsing or reading PDF files for these uses it’s great. It’s my laptop when I travel because I haven’t wanted to check out a machine from work and it can access my e-mail. I wish I had a folding USB keyboard for it, but that’s my only real major complaint. Having said that, I do have a little EEE PC envy. It has an adult-sized keyboard and appears to be good value for the money. I know Shirl Kennedy likes hers and that’s usually good enough for me. I probably won’t buy a computer unless one of my two desktops crashes though.

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One Response

  1. I haven’t taken my XO out to cafes and such as much as I’d like to show it off and promote the program. I did take it on the bus one morning and showed it around. I still think it’s a great program and with the newest build the XO is more usable.

    I use it quite a lot for surfing the Internet as it takes less power than my desktop. I also take it on trips as it is my only laptop. I like it because it is very durable, it’s non-Microsoft, it doesn’t look much like a laptop (it looks more like a Fisher Price toy), and it didn’t cost a whole lot of money. I’m even starting to get better at typing on it.

    My significant other just bought an Acer Aspire One. Granted his netbook has a lot more memory and a 160GB hard drive but it cost about the same as a G1G1. He’s constantly trying to keep the shiny surface clean off finger prints and stuff. Not a worry on an XO.

    I just wish I could find other XO owners near by. I’ve suggested that the local Linux user group have a meeting about the XO. The president of the group is receptive to the idea.

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