OLPC Chicago

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The Chicago Interest Group is a way for people in the Chicagoland area to talk about and work together on OLPC. We aren't necessarily interested just in trying to bring OLPC into classrooms in Illinois; we're also interested in volunteering/contributing to the project.

OLPC Chicago IS

  1. a nucleation point for exchange between local groups, towards the OLPC Boston office and back, and with other groups worldwide
  2. helping in organizing XOs for the local groups
  3. working with the Illinois Legislature and Governor Pat Quinn's staff on HB5000, the Children's Low-Cost Laptop Act
  4. supporting and cherishing the autonomy of local groups
  5. focusing on rough consensus, grassroots involvement, and working projects


  1. going to do a local pilot in your school (although we'll encourage and support you if you want to do one yourself)
  2. going to tell you what you are and aren't allowed to do (although we're always up for idea-bouncing and brainstorms)

(Thanks to OLPC Europe, from which the above lists are adapted.)

Contact and chapters

Mailing list

We have most of our Chicago-wide, intra-chapter discussions on the mailing list. If you are interested, please subscribe.

Flickr Group

OLPC Chicago has a OLPC_Chicago Flickr group for photos of meetups, pictures of modifications to our XOs, etc. Please join!


ILXO is an independent grassroots office present in Chicago for the summer of 2008; its mission is to catalyze and support independent OLPC grassroots groups in Illinois as well as projects and collaborations involving them. ILXO is not an official OLPC endeavor.

IMSA chapter

IMSA is a public high school in Aurora.

MVCC chapter

MVCC is a community college in Palos Hills.

OLPC Chicago Jabber server

OLPC Chicago Jabber Server is jabber.olpchacks.org.

To setup your XO, open the terminal activity and type:

  % sugar-control-panel -s jabber jabber.olpchacks.org

Restart Sugar/X (ctrl-alt-erase) and you will connect to the jabber server.

Future Activities

Past activities

also see /Archive for old info that has been moved off this page.

  • July 29 2008 - Teacher Jam Chicago
  • Mar 29 2008 - Tentatively, MVCC will have another informal meetup. Anyone is welcome - an invitation will be broadcast to the OLPC-Chicago group and MVCC faculty and staff. At this meet we met an incredibly technologically savvy teen who typed up a detailed walkthrough on everything he does to customize his XO. There is lots of useful guides all in one place at Ben Rothman's XO Setup.
  • The Illinois School for the Deaf and their XO pilot (in Jacksonville, IL) was featured on myjournalcourier - read the article and see some photos of the children with their laptops.
  • March 6 2008 - The technology committee of the IL House of Representatives unanimously passed the /IL Children's Low Cost Laptop Fund, which is now moving to the House and Senate for review. See the page for a first-hand account by Larry Langellier.
  • Feb 16 2008 - There was a meetup at MVCC to explore the XO more deeply, specifically the mesh capability. Seven adults and nine children were present. Highlights included introductions to OLPC and the XO for newcomers, an introduction to Scratch and the community site at scratch.mit.edu, and some of the children in attendance showed us how to use the mesh for Chat and Connect.
  • Feb 5 2008 - Meetup at Marie Murphy School. Karen's blog writeup and Joe's blog post
  • /Jan 26 2008 - There was a meetup at MVCC to introduce the project, play with laptops, and come up with ideas for things the MVCC chapter could work on. Highlights included TamTam demos by an 8-year-old and Record demos by a 10-year-old, as well as a kid-run laptop disassembly session.
  • /Jan 22 2008- The first COGG (Chicago-OLPC Grassroots Group) meeting was Jan 22, 2008 at Google Chicago. IMSA students and others presented their projects, connections were made, and small interest groups were formed. For more information, including notes and blogs from the meeting, click here.
  • /Jun 02 2007 - Hackathon at SkinnyCorp.

Project ideas

Resources for OLPC_Chicago

  • OLPC_Chicago Resources - Karen Smith's note of 2/14/08 with a summary of online resources for OLPC Chicago and other tips and tricks, collected from available resources. Please add to this list!
  • Ben Rothman's XO Setup is a teens detailed list of everything he does to customize his XO from the beginning. It is a great resource for saving time by conveniently containing setup of Flash, Opera, and getting rid of some core programs that just get in the way. He will also be updating it as soon as we figure out how to get java working on the XO.