Danish schoolchildren have given an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the One Laptop per Child XO laptop. The cheap PC has been on trial on Denmark so that the intended audience, schoolchildren, could give their verdict.
The trial was completed at the Trekroner Elementary School in Roskilde. Nine-year-old Karl Emil and Frey gave their opinions. The XO-computer's design was a hit with the two pupils.
The green and white plastic, the handle, the rabbit-ear-antennas and the keyboard caused excitement. On the surface it seemed like the design team from One Laptop per Child have hit a bulls eye.
"It's cool," they both said when the XO-computer was placed in front of them. "It looks like an ogre where the antennas are its ears."
"The colour is neat too," Freya said. "The keyboard is a little strange but it fits to the fingers."
The well-made design has been acclaimed by adults. The XO-computer has just won the Index award, a design prize that is given to designs that focus on concepts that improve living standards.
When it came to the startup procedure the kids were ahead of the situation. The antennas were up, the screen flung open and the machine was up and running within minutes - although the graphic interface did have to be explained to them. But the basic principles were understood immediately and it only took minutes before they were surfing the Internet and hooked up on an online game.
"It's just like it used to be," Karl Emil said slightly distracted, while his fingers were searching for the right letters on the keyboard. After 15 minutes the kids were making full use of the computer. However, it wasn't all enthusiasm. "It is a bit slow," Karl Emil said while his patience was being tested by the computer's moderate pace.
The text editor, the camera function and the drawing program were well received. The level of guidance that children required was minimal. They just tried the functions and rapidly learned the skills needed for creating results.
The music program attracted them the most. The program allows the user to blend instruments and sounds to compose melodies. Freya and Karl Emil almost fought to be in control of the keyboard - and ideas were exchanged at a rapid pace. And once again Freya and Karl Emil were deep into playing and learning - with their motivation as the only fuel.
The XO-PC can also be used to read e-books on and the display can be folded over the keyboard in a way that makes it look like a normal book. That function was a hit between the two testers. They agreed that it could be a worthy replacement for their school books - and it would their bags considerably lighter.
"I think we could make good use of it in my class," said Karl Emil as he tries to keep the XO in order to use it in school the following day.