On Friday, Solangel Brujan (Teaching Matters’ consultant at KAPPA IV), Briony Carr (principal of KAPPA IV), and I introduced the XO project to the entire sixth grade class. I developed a presentation for this introduction. Our goal was to get the students excited while outlining our expectations that they take responsibility over their learning with these new devices.
I started by explaining the idea behind OLPC – that it is a small group of people with a big idea – make a laptop for kids and put it in the hands of every kid around the world. I asked the students to brainstorm ideas for how they would make a computer for kids, different than the computers they are familiar with. Some of their responses were very interesting. They want it to be durable. They want to use to communicate with their friends (like on MySpace). They want it to be different than the Apple and Dell computers they are used to. It should have cool designs, be easy to carry, take pictures and record video. Of course, they also wanted a computer that they could play a lot of games with and that they could keep private from their parents (hey, they’re kids).
I showed them the XO and explained many of it’s features. The students were all amazed by the machine and had many, many questions.
While our project will begin with one class, we wanted to make all of the students in the sixth grade aware of what was going on and explain how they could be involved going forward. We feel this is a critical part of our implementation plan. ALL students need to feel included. Because this is a staggered roll-out plan, it is critical to make sure students don’t feel alienated or resentful. At the same time, we want to ensure that all participating students understand their responsibility to share their experiences with their peers.
I left the auditorium to cheers and excitement from all.
We’re off to a great start.