The “One Laptop Per Child” portable PC, otherwise known as the XO Laptop, has been out now for a month or so, and here’s a video review from Robin Ashford, an education librarian (she doesn’t reveal her institution, which I wish she would, but oh, well) in Portland, OR (my former home – hooray for PDX!). This review goes into some detail about some of the great networking features available on the XO, and has some useful information about this project and its PCs, which I hope get into the hands of many young people:

And here’s a video about using the XO as an e-book reader, with a tablet-style screen that rotates and folds over the keyboard:

The XO looks quite nice and, once folks can get past the fact that it runs an open source (meaning neither Microsoft nor Mac) operating system, it seems to work well and will serve as a very nice e-book reader. Of course, as an e-book reader it won’t lend itself to any commercially sold e-books, like those available for Amazon’s Kindle – only e-books without digital rights management software that are out of copyright, as in the huge number of downloadable e-books available through Project Gutenberg, or those available as Creative Commons works. That means that very few books for children, especially young children, will be available for the XO Laptop – although the International Children’s Digital Library will help in that regard.

We can only hope that the OLPC laptop catches on among lots of people and persuades PC manufacturers to make systems like these easily available to lots of young people in the US, as well as worldwide. Here’s a text review of the XO from the LIRX.com law-and-technology site. Looks cool.

PLUS: I should have added these links earlier – the links that tell you how you can find out more about the OLPC program and how you can donate a laptop to a child in the developing world: Here’s Laptop.org, and here’s LaptopGiving.org.

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