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10 September 2008 / erikduval

Laptop fun

During our holidays in California this Summer, the ISKME folks were so kind to show us around their offices (thanks, Lisa!). My kids got to try the OLPC. The video shows what happened when they got to try and open the machine…

It seems to me that there is a deeper message here: much of what we develop in terms of tools for technology enhanced learning is just not well designed and fails upon the first confrontation with “real users”.

My Smart Friend Wayne often emphasizes how important design is if we want to make tools actually usable and thus potentially useful.

YOU may have some additional examples of great tools that could have been designed just a little bit better? Would love to hear from you: my course on problem solving and design starts in a few weeks and examples are SO useful to learn about this topic…



Leave a Comment
  1. Tom / Sep 10 2008 5:06 pm

    Cute 🙂

    As for tools: what about the plastic wrapping around usb sticks and other electrical devices?

  2. Lisa / Sep 10 2008 6:02 pm

    What a great video!! :). But you didn’t show them eventually opening it! I agree with the issues about design and usability, but I think this video is also about 1) adult pressure (kids being under the microscope); 2) their dad being an ubergeek so they already knew a lot about how a laptop *should* work; and 3) finally (and as a youngest, I can truly relate), the dynamics between oldest and youngest siblings, and how that prevents kids from getting their fair share of time in the working through this dynamic.

    Shall we send the link to the OLPC folks? 😉

  3. Xavier / Sep 10 2008 8:07 pm

    I know your kids and they are VERY smart and curious and they are used to technology… I think this experience could frustrate any average child… As for adults, after 1 minute I will be using a screwdriver or a hammer….

  4. Matthew Steven Carlos / Sep 10 2008 11:49 pm

    Erik .. SJ Klein (former Content Director) from OLPC took video of people (particularly adults) attempting to open the XO. Perhaps the video is in a format that can be shared with you and the students. Let me know if you need an introduction. .. Peace. Matthew.

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