Thank you and an update on the New Zealand XO-4 deployment

Tabitha Roder tabitha at
Thu Jul 11 04:20:16 EDT 2013

This week Barry Vercoe, Nicoletta Rata-Skudder and I had the pleasure of
spending three days with the first New Zealand school to purchase XO
laptops for their students. This school is also the first XO-4 touchscreen
deployment (I think in the world??).

I wanted to publicly thank all the people who worked so hard to help ensure
this deployment had a successful start, including the deployment being able
to be in Maori, the preferred language for this school. Thanks to CJL for
his endless support in making this happen, and for all his continuing help
as we work towards a sustainable translation team.

Thank you to Walter for helping with the keyboard issues. We hope to test
your new keyboard preference in a future build. For those reading this
email without knowing about the New Zealand deployment, we needed some
changes to allow Macrons on vowels to be in single characters. We found the
combining macron available in the standard keyboard was problematic.

The laptops are being used with first year students (five year olds) with a
teacher who has completed the "One Education" teacher training provided by
One Laptop per Child Australia. There are other teachers within the school
also working through this training to help them prepare to deploy XO-4
laptops in their classes. The students in her class had access to XO-1.75
laptops for two weeks prior to the arrival of XO-4 laptops.

There are a few bugs in the build that we have identified since deployment,
and a few activities that the students would really like to see available
for XO-4, but overall a successful launch.
The school is using xo-system 1a build 49 which is acquired from and we customised it using Jerry's tinycore linux
based customisation system. Many thanks to Jerry Vonau and James Cameron
for producing this and helping us use it. This customisation meant we could
have the laptops first start up in Maori and the children saw Maori
language from the very first screen (where you put in your name/ingoa).
We also bundled the following activities that the teacher had access to on
the XO-1.75 during training (if the activity started on XO-4) - Cartoon
builder, eToys, Get Books, Infoslicer, Maze, Story builder, the full Tam
tam suite, Turtle machine and Typing Turtle.
The teacher has asked us to investigate the jigsaw puzzle and slider puzzle
activities for XO-4 as some children had made puzzles with their photos
from Record on the XO-1.75 and enjoyed these activities.
We noticed some performance issues with Record (the screen would freeze at
times while they were preparing to take the photo) and we also could not
get Undo to work in Write activity in the classroom. We will test these
further and file bug reports when we know more.

Thanks to DSD for the quick fix on the Browse performance issues.

On leaving the school, the students were quickly gaining confidence in
using the touchscreen as well as the touchpad, taking photos in Record and
putting them in Write as part of story writing, and using the Paint
activity. They were excited at every opportunity to use the XOs and were
exploring all the activities with great enthusiasm.

Thanks to all the others who also helped along the way. OLPC builds and
deployments are a community effort, and we thank everyone involved. Please
know that your efforts, advice and guidance has been worth the sharing, and
this school is now enjoying their teaching and learning experiences with
XO-4 laptops in the classroom.

Thank you!
Tabitha and Tom
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