Chicago Area XO User Group

Chicago Area XO User Group

Postby langellier » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:27 am

An XO User Group is being formed at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hill, IL a southwest suburb of Chicago. We will hold our first meeting on a Saturday in mid- to late-January at the college.

Please post here if you are interested in joining the group.
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Postby KayTi » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:05 am

Hi Langellier - I'm interested, but Palos Heights is likely too far for me. I'm in the far western suburbs - St. Charles. Know of any other local XO Chicago efforts? I have two kids, two laptops (kids are 6 and 4 - early for the laptops, but both proficient already) and a background in educational software design that's burning me up. ;) Looking forward to finding ways to connect.
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Postby langellier » Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:11 am

Hi KayTi,

There is a forum over at OLPC News where a lot more Chicago area people have been congregating online to discuss getting together. It is located at

This group is drawing people from all over the Chicago area, and potentially even into Wisconsin and Indiana. Once we get started, meetings may rotate to different locations for different meetings (and smaller subgroups will certainly get together to mesh in less formal and more local settings - one such meetup is being planned for Rockford).

The benefit of a larger "regional" group is that we can draw on collective contacts and resources to bring in speakers on topics of interest. At our first meeting, one of the Moraine Valley Community College instructors is going to give a tutorial on linux. In the future, I would like to continue to bring in other presenters on a variety of topics. I am familiar with Python, PyGames, Squeak, eToys, and Scratch - all of which are either already on the XOs or will be available soon.

My background is very similar to yours. I also have a background in educational software design and implementation (I worked at the Institute for the Learning Sciences at Northwestern in the 90s developing educational applications using artificial intelligence techniques). I now teach computer programming and software design at MVCC. I have two kids (they are 7 and 5) who also had laptops since they were 6 and 4. I only have one XO for now, but hopefully the G1G1 program will come around again when I can afford to get both of them one. We have been using their PCs for Squeak/eToys and Scratch for over a year already. I would LOVE to see them get a chance to do some mesh activities.

If you decide to come to the first ChiXO User Group meeting, you would be welcome to bring your children with you. I plan to bring at least one of mine. Your kids are probably already doing activities together with the mesh, but I'm looking forward to my daughter getting that chance.

The first meeting is going to be held at Moraine Valley Community College on Saturday, January 26 at 10 a.m. John Kjellman, and instructor from Moraine Valley Community College, will be giving a linux tutorial. We will also be informally sharing with one another what we have learned about our little XOs so far. I personally would LOVE to hear about how your kids have been using the XO. My plan is to develop constructivist outreach activities using the XO in preparation for the day when these machines hopefully start to be available to our local schools! Perhaps I'll even be able to raise enough funding for the next time G1G1 comes around to buy enough machines for an after-school clubhouse! :D

I hope you can join us!
- Larry Langellier
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Postby KayTi » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:19 pm

Small, small, small world. :) I got my MS at ILS in 95. ;) I was one of the Andersen Consulting interns, during the days when they had the two-year program (a year after I finished I think they did maybe two years of a one-year program, before the whole thing fizzled out.)

I will head over to the other forum, thanks for the pointer. I also joined the Chicago mailing list:

My son (6) has been playing with the turtle app - and over the break kept running up to me exictedly to tell me that he figured out that when he changed the color number to 50something, it was blue... I remember logo from my childhood, so this is a fun experience. His laptop went RMA on the sticky key defect just last Friday, so we haven't had the chance to do much with mesh yet. Too many other things competing for our time during the holiday break.

I am going to be bringing in the other XO to my son's school to show it to their computer instructor. I've been talking with him about coming up with some innovative activities for the kids in computer class. I think I have a slight uphill battle. The instructor is a nice, smart guy who is plenty technical, but seems to think that only the older kids are capable of doing things using whatever turtle-drawing program they have there. (the school goes pre-k through 8th grade.)

I am new to the open-source world, and am a designer/manager, not an uber-technical type, so I have a feeling somewhere with this XO laptop the computer instructor and I can get together on a middle ground to get all the kids exposed to more before they leave the school. It's a great school, I want to see the kids leaving it with some amount of technical competence and awareness of the kinds of careers that are out there. I have a feeling they think the only kinds of jobs are the uber-technical level. I'd like them to know there's more.

At any rate, thanks for the help - I bet we crossed paths in the hallowed halls of ILS back in the day.
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MAJOR change for the Jan. 25 meeting at Moraine Valley CC

Postby langellier » Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:27 pm

Sadly, I am going to have to cancel the Linux tutorial for the XO that was scheduled for this Saturday (January 25) at Moraine Valley Community College. People are still welcome to come for an informal get together and do some "meshing". If you plan to attend the meeting at MVCC, please email me at langellier (at) morainevalley (dot) edu by noon on Tuesday, January, 22.

The reason the Linux tutorial had to be cancelled is that the presenter (who hadn't heard of OLPC and the XO prior to my request) wanted to borrow my XO no later than this weekend so he could have a couple days to play with it and develop his presentation/tutorial. Unfortunately, my XO has still not arrived and I may not even have it by Saturday. :-(

Now that the Google-affiliated group here in Chicago is forming, I believe they are an excellent group to provide a regional presence that I felt was important. As a result, I am going to deemphasize the "regional" nature of the gatherings at MVCC, and focus on more local issues as follows:

- Provide a meeting spot for local meetups
- Offer my assistance in procuring the MVCC facilities for larger gatherings for the Google-based group if they ever need a larger site for a meeting/conference.
- Start a university chapter here at MVCC to recruit more students and faculty to the OLPC initiative.

I welcome anyone who would like to be involved with any of these efforts (including the University chapter - you don't need to be an MVCC student to join that). I will work with anyone organizing south/southwest/west suburban OLPC activities and I will be happy to assist in any way that I can to facilitate efforts locally and regionally. Feel free to email me at langellier (at) morainevalley edu if you are near Palos Hills and would like to join our grassroots group or if you are part of a larger effort and would like to utilize our facilities.

Don't forget, email me if you still plan to attend the MVCC meeting Saturday - even though the Linux tutorial is cancelled.

Best Regards,
- Larry Langellier
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Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:17 am

Postby mchua » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:41 am

If by "Google-affiliated" you mean "the awesome people at Google were kind enough to host our first meeting and feed us, and some of them are helping to hack on OLPC stuff," yes. ;)

Larry, thanks for putting together the MVCC meetup - it's wonderful to see activity springing up in the suburbs, not to mention another university group getting involved. If it helps, my XO and I will be coming out to MVCC on Saturday, and can run a little intro Linux* tutorial if you want, although it probably won't be as gloriously in-depth as your original presenter because I have a tendency to tangent off from technical topics into "...and we can use it for education!" things.

*or Python, or "cool hardware in the XO," or interesting things other grassroots groups have done, or... <insert intro presentation here>

-Mel (one of the folks behind the OLPC Chicago meetup at Google tonight - which was awesome, by the way, thanks to all who came! Folks who were able to make it out should blog and link from [[OLPC Chicago]].)
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Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Chicago Area XO User Group

Postby jasermd » Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:09 pm

I am looking for someone to help me install/modify my XO. I would like to install a graphic based browser, a program to play movies/TV shows that I download to an SD card, and if possible, the ability to log on to a program called gotomypc. Is there anyone in the Chicago area that might be willing to work with me one on one. I am having great difficulty trying to understand how to program the XO on my own. Thanks, JAS
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Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 7:08 pm

Informal Meetup Saturday, February 16 at MVCC

Postby langellier » Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:17 am

There will be an informal meetup at Moraine Valley Community College this Saturday, February 16 at 11:00 a.m. I will be introducing a few parents and their kids to the XO that morning. Everyone is welcome to drop by to mesh with us! I'll be happy to give an overview of OLPC and attempt to answer any questions.

Maps and Directions
The meeting will be held in T921A in the Center for Contemporary Technology (T Building) at MVCC in southwest suburban Palos Hills, IL.

Directions to the MVCC campus can be found at

Campus Map: ... -color.pdf

Classroom T921B is in the T Building:

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at langellier at morainevalley dot edu.

- Larry Langellier
Assistant Professor, Moraine Valley Community College
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Re: very good

Postby GregYohn » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:36 am

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Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 9:12 pm

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