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Archive for February, 2008

xo search

It was a little easy but at first it was a little hard, I got the hang of it though. I liked going on the internet on the xo because it was fast and easy to find what i needed to find and take notes on it. My topic is on global warming and how it affects polar bear mothers and their babies. At first i thought it was going to be hard to research about that topic but, on the xo it was faster and easier than a regular computer. I hope that i will be able to keep on going on the internet using the new xo laptops. This experience was great.

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An XO search

Researching on the XO was fun but also easy.It was almost easier than using a regular computer because when I went on the enternet it was already on the google homepage and I could save the website I found research on.

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resarch on the xo

using these xo’s for resarch was fun i got to find out alot on my topic. the only thing i didnt understand was why the board of education blocked some useful sites. i mean it wasnt like i was going to go somewhere bad. but other than that using the xo for resarch was a success.

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We thought we were excited about the XO, but our parents loved them even more. After the workshop that teaching matters held for us at KAPPA IV, we took them home. All of us played with the XO software like the camera, the writing, the music, and some of the math stuff too. When we came back to school our teachers told us to talk about our experience with the XO at home. As a class we created a large list of things we did. Out of the whole class, 23 looked at the neighborhood option and only saw ourselves in the XO, 10 of us attempted to chat, 10 used the record activity, 10 used the music activity, 23 were able to go into the writing software and show our parents our work on the feature article angles, and 23 attempted to go on the internet. Though 2 students thought they went on the internet, it turns out at they did not. The best part about this experience was that about 10 of our parents were able to turn on the XO on their own and look at the kids work without help.  We hope to experience more during the february week in a couple of days. The XO managers, us, are responsible for sharing our experience next week.

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We scheduled a meeting with parents of our KAPPA IV students participating in the project for this evening at 5:30 PM to introduce them to the XO, inform them of the project, answer their questions, and ultimately let the children take the computers home. KAPPA IV’s parent coordinator, Rosa Colon, translated the letter we sent home into Spanish and called all the parents last week to confirm that they would be able to attend. Little did we know that there would be a veritable snowstorm in New York this evening! As I write this, there is two inches of snow on the ground and the snow is now changing over to hail and ice. But the parents at KAPPA IV braved the bad weather and climbed to the fifth floor of KAPPA’s building (most of them led eagerly by their children) to learn about this project their children have been buzzing about.

We crowded them all into the classroom and invited them to partake in sandwiches, soda and cookies that the parent coordinator arranged. Then I asked them to complete a survey devised in partnership with the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers’ College (Columbia University). After we all settled in, I took a deep breath and asked “So what have your children told you about this project?” And the answer, which came from many, was summed up simply in one word- “Excitement!” The parents told us how excited their children were about the computers and how they couldn’t wait to take them home. Professor Almanzar and Rosa Colon translated for Principal Carr and myself as we led them through the same activity we used to introduce students to the project. We explained the scope of the project and their role in it.

Then children showed their parents the Write activity and the Record activity. We asked all students to take a picture with their parents for posterity (and fun). After they spent some time becoming familiar with the machines, we showed parents the Journal activity and explained the importance of checking in on their students’ experiences every week. Parents asked questions about the computers and their capabilities and compatibility with software and applications that they know. Then we stressed the rules for students and gave them permission to take the machines home. The parents and children left to trudge home in the lousy weather with raised spirits as they cloaked their XOs in backpacks and under coats. Pictures and more details soon…

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XO

Today we used the XO in the class. We did the same thing as we did yesterday. We had to write our work in the software and then share it with our friends. A big difference today was the managers. There were no problems giving out the computers. The class did it pretty quickly. That was nice to see. Its cool to see that the XO is getting easier to use. We did not use the internet today but thats ok. We got to practice our typing. For homework, we have to rewrite the work in our writers notebooks. We look forward to doing our research on the internet. But most of all take them home. I cant wait to show the camera to my family.

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During this lesson, it was clear that the students understood the protocol for distributing, booting, using, and shutting down the XO. There were no management problems whatsoever.

The lesson involved the student writing down the a new angle for the feature article topic. Though the concept is not easy, the students used the write software to type their new angle and share them. It was clear that students used the XO to show their work by turning the screen while others just read their work. Though in a traditional classroom, we would have chosen to write in notebooks. But we are exploring multiple uses of the XO. However, it is important to note that during the whole class sharing, some students forgot their angles. It seems that they did not type their angles, something that I think would have been recorded if they were using their writers notebooks. I think the keyboard might have gotten in the way of their thoughts. Learning how to type is not easy, and so, we have to make sure the students thoughts are not lost in the typing. For the purposes of this pilot, we used the XO. This class is well equipped mentally to rewrite or rethink any lesson. The teachers guidance is extremely effective and provides the necessary scaffolding to reteach lessons. However, I think the writers notebooks are more useful for the beginning stages of ANY unit.

I think that the XO needs to be used for sharing and uploading work, research and looking for extra resources in the moodle site. We will continue to use the XO for those mentioned items but will reserve brainstorming, notetaking, and drafting in the writers notebooks. The research, revisions, and publishing will be on the XO. A major item that we also have to address is to prepare students for when they take the XO home. We have to make sure that the students log what they are learning from the XO through blogging or sharing through the mesh network. We can create a set of questions or log that will organize their experiences in software and hardware. We are working on it.

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