The OLPCA (One Laptop per Child Association) has launched new software to accompany its refreshed Marvell manufactured laptop, the XO-4 touchscreen. The Android compatible suite of educational programs is called the XO Learning System and has been constructed in concert with parental advisory interest, Common Sense Media, to ensure that the content is appropriate for children aged 3 to 12.
The collaboration has resulted in the provision of a full range of parental controls, separate logins for up to three children and a dashboard utility which allows parent or child to review usage - namely the type of content being used and what skills the child is developing.
The program suite also comes with a Digital Passport which is designed for students at a Key Stage 2 level to teach them how to “safely navigate a technology-enhanced world”. This feature is already being used worldwide in classrooms which utilise OLPCA XO laptops.
XO Learning directs the user experience through a new interface that can be operated via 12 ‘dreams’ - “I want to be… an artist, musician, scientist, etc.” - that come with associated applications, books, games and videos.
The software is currently bilingual as users can switch from English to Spanish through the press of an icon. Additional language-specific content will also be made available while more languages are set to accompany future releases.
"The challenge in computing and education is to use the technology to develop new ways for children to learn. The rich content of the dreams allows the child's natural passion to be directed into learning experiences," said Giulia D'Amico, the lead designer of XO Learning.
The proprietary learning platform is available by license to computer manufacturers, governments, NGOs and content providers inclusing book publishers. XO Learning can also be placed on Android-enabled tablets with licensing requiring the device to be called an XO Tablet.