What better way to end the week in Washington, DC than with a good XO geek fest? How about one with your favorite OLPC News writers at a local pub?
This Friday, we’ll have Jon Camfield, Mike Lee, Wayan Vota, and in from OLPC Austria, Christoph Derndorfer, at the Looking Glass Lounge in Petworth.
On tap will be a lively discussion of all things One Laptop Per Child as the beer brings out our brilliance in everything else. We’ll also have a collection of XO laptops for public use. If you’re around, do come join us:
OLPC News DC Meetup
Friday, March 28 Looking Glass Lounge
3634 Georgia Ave NW (map)
Near Georgia Avenue Metro Station
6pm till we stumble home
I’m testing out my new Flip Ultra video camera this week, so I used the camera’s built-in software to edit and automatically upload to YouTube this 5-minute video clip (playable above) of our guest speaker, Richard Bullington-McGuire, and his 7-year-old son Patrick as they talk about the projects they and Richard’s students have done in the MIT Media Lab‘s free Scratch animation and programming software. In his talk, Richard said he finds the user interface of Scratch much more inviting than the eToys activity bundled with the XO. Scratch, however, still needs to have its interface “sugarized” to be more readable on the XO’s high resolution screen. I particularly enjoyed seeing Richard’s laminated set of Scratch Cards. The Scratch Cards illustrate a basic feature on one side and show the programming steps on the back. It would be great to have a large set of these for the XO and its bundled activities.
From my photos on Flickr, you can see that at this month’s meeting, we continued to attract a diverse group of parents, kids (lots of them!) and other XO fans of all ages. We made some more progress in getting the school server up and running on a laptop with an active antenna, but alas, we didn’t have a USB-to-ethernet adapter so that we could bridge to the open internet through the server.
Pizza for lunch was an impromptu suggestion at noon which produced enough contributions from the group to have Capital Pizza deliver a pile of pies and liters of drinks. Thanks again to Kevin Cole of the Gallaudet Research Institute for handling all the logistics of the meeting room. We are scheduled to meet back at Gallaudet in May.
Michael Connet of Nortel LearnIT, and the host of our last meeting, has just posted some of the fabulously creative student animations that were previewed. Highschooler Phi Tran was the primary animator, and in another video, he explains how he created them. In the animations, an energetic XO kid runs around a fanciful rendition of the Sugar user interface to demonstrate networking concepts through gestures and movement. The animations are the first in a series and one can easily imagine a superhero cartoon character coming out of this project. This is just another vivid example of the diverse talent we have in the DC area XO community. Bravo!
Where: Gallaudet University [map], Student Union Building, Lower Level [floorplan], Flexible Room L040 and L041, Washington, D.C. 20002
At the meeting, Richard Bullington-McGuire will demonstrate the MIT Media Lab’s Scratch animation program which also runs on the XO. Richard has created a number of Scratch courses that he has taught to gradeschool children in Virginia. Richard will give a quick overview of the class he’s teaching, show some of the classroom materials, explain how he got the seminar series started, and show what some of the projects students have done. He’ll also report on the alpha implementation of Scratch on the XO, with a quick explanation of what works and what doesn’t.
Here’s a screenshot of one of Richard’s student projects, a capture the flag game: