XO based digital storytelling

The history of Uruguay wasn’t in the curriculum when I was at school and I doubt if anything’s changed in UK schools to remedy that omission. But for 15 minutes Diego Vidart filled that aching gap in my knowledge. He was explaining it as background to Historias Digitales del Urugua.

XO_laptop2.jpgSchool children in this South American country are the first in the world to receive the XO Laptop Computer – the so called 100 Dollar Laptop. It’s basic, very basic. Small screen, small memory, limited software and it looks like a toy – although it’s not and intended for serious work in Uruguay’s schools.

You wouldn’t look twice at it if you were selecting kit for a digital storytelling project – but Diego wasn’t selecting it, it was selecting him. So the project Historias Digitales del Urugua, commissioned some software that will run on the XO. It has a media window, timeline and monitor pane. It can even place transitions between images. Titling has to wait for the next upgrade, but with it’s simple user interface and big buttons it is clearly designed for a low resolution screen. It will be a free download available to all schools in the country. The computer doesn’t have enough power to render the timeline so the completed project files are sent to the Uruguay’s Catholic University for processing in a lab and sent back to the school within 48 hours!

380,000 schoolchildren have these white and green laptops so the potential for success in this storytelling project is high. Perhaps, when Uruguay’s colourful history is told in digital stories, it will at last find a place in the minds of British schoolchildren – after all the South American story is closely linked to Europe, and so are we!