Having had the chance to use the XO with students for five weeks now, I wanted to share some further impressions on how using this kid-friendly, unique mobile device have gone:
“Although limited to 12 XOs in a class of 29, I have seen the potential of the XO to transform learning first hand. Students (although not all) take to the machines and learn them very quickly, or are at least prepared to help eachother, a great development that makes it easier for the teacher if you’re willing to give up some feeling of control in this area. The mesh networking/sharing means that every activity has the potential for extension built-in, and students themselves are often coming up with innovative and new ways to use the XO for their learning.
The XO itself is in need of an upgrade (version 1.5 appears in November I hear?) and does struggle at times and suffer from known faults like the trackpad skipping or freezing up, and some activities refusing to close or hanging, requiring a restart. We also sometimes had problems connecting more than two machines at a time for sharing, not sure why. Battery life proved shorter than expected, so dimming of the screen/ sleep mode do need to be aggressively used. Our ‘uptime’ overall was probably 90% for each machine though, and when compared to the previous amount of technology in the class (3 old PC’s), just having such student-friendly, adaptable and capable machines has proven a huge step forward.