Examining the XO's Learning Activities
I have previously discussed the XO's hardware, as well as its multimedia and web activities. The XO has several tutorial activities that can be used in a fairly productive (read 'useful') way.
I have been looking at the XO activities beyond the browser, chat and multimedia activities. Namely, students can create drawings, audio recordings, tinker with programming and use a calculator. Actually, I'm pretty impressed with the default activities. Because they are both tutorial and productive - that is, a student can see the impact of their learning efforts - children will learn far more effectively than they will through rote exercises.
I have never been a graphic artist - anything I try to do, short of the pre-drawn shapes, would take weeks to make it look nice. But the Draw activity is certainly useful for students to learn on. The TamTam activities, Jam, Edit, and Mini, offer different functionality. Children can use Jam to perform. That is, they can pick an instrument and actually play it using the keyboard. Mini is aimed at small children - and probably me, too - for the same purpose as Jam. Edit lets children create more advanced musical compositions, while the synthLab lets older children explore advanced sound design.