Our Stories Project

I just saw mention of a new project, OurStories.org. It is an effort to collect stories compiled by children worldwide using an XO-laptop about their friends, family and fellow community members.

This appears to be a joint effort of OLPC, UNICEF, and Google.

This is certainly a worthwhile cause, and an example of the kind of application for which the XO is well-suited.

On the other hand, am I the only one who finds the site has more the flavor of a press-release than a site meant for children? For example, the site is currently in English, and the language seems well above the sixth grade level, and does not to me seem well-suited for translation into other languages.

Hmmm…I just read the fine print at the bottom of the web page, including the Terms Of Service. As best as I can tell the project is hosted at Google and the content provided by the kiddies is then sucked into YouTube, a recent acquisition of Google’s.

Sigh, the more things change the more they stay the same.

Moreover, Section B. says:

The Adult Interview Guide available on the Website is owned by Sound Portraits Productions, Inc and may be downloaded and reproduced for educational and personal use only. Contact Sound Portraits at StoryCorps® if you wish to use this Guide in any other manner.

So the XO laptops haven’t yet arrived, and we are already seeing commercial tie-ins trying to extract money courtesy of the content provided by the children on the far side of the world who will be recording these stories.

Well, at least the site is providing detailed education about the U.S. legal system, to wit this language near the end:

You understand that when using the Our Stories website, you will be exposed to content from a variety of sources, and that the Our Stories website nor Google is not responsible for the accuracy, usefulness, safety, or intellectual property rights of or relating to such content. You further understand and acknowledge that you may be exposed to content that is inaccurate, offensive, indecent, or objectionable, and you agree to waive any legal or equitable rights or remedies you have or may have against the Our Stories website or Google with respect thereto, and agree to indemnify and hold the Our Stories website, Google, its Owners/Operators, affiliates, and/or licensors, harmless to the fullest extent allowed by law regarding all matters related to your use of the site.

And you thought the XO was just about educating children …

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 11, 2007 at 14:57 | Permalink | Reply

    Yes, XO is turns out is about re-engineering education using technology. If it does turn into a “coral reef” there will be countless (in the sense of difficult) commercial tie-ins, spin-offs, rip-offs and ventures.

    I’m hoping for the “coral reef”… free seems to create opportunties for the disadvantaged and XO seems to be as close to free as the people behind it can design.

    If it generates anything close to the concepts and priniciples of the “Peace Corps” it will likely stand up against the entrenched forces of technology expolitation that have most consumers by the low order bits: the user’s data.

    Can’t wait for you to get your laptop and share the findings.

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