I felt extremely unmotivated to make a proposal for NECC, but I figured I should follow through on my threat to propose a talk on using the XO in reading/writing workshop. Thus, I dashed this off:
Using the OLPC XO in a Reading and Writing Workshop
The XO "$100" laptop's unique design provides a key to effective reading and writing workshop: radically simple, direct, reliable collaboration between students and teachers.
The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate the unique capabilities in a reading and writing workshop of the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop and its included free software, including the Sugar desktop, the "Write" activity and the user "Journal."
Reading and writing workshop methods demand high levels of organization and often complex procedures to bring student writing through the writing process, including brainstorming, drafting, peer and teacher editing and publication.
Conventional information technology methods for even simple tasks in a writing workshop like sharing a student's writing for peer editing require accounts on file or web servers, passwords, reliable internet connections and other hurdles. In the XO's Sugar interface, sharing a document is as easy as sliding a piece of paper across a table. Collaboration is built in from the bottom of the hardware to the top of the software. Formerly complex tasks like tracking changes over multiple revisions, commenting and backups are automatic.
OLPC is generally thought to be only appropriate to the developing world; participants will leave understanding this inexpensive and accessible technology's advantages in American English classrooms as well.
Of course, just because the proposal is crappy, doesn't mean it wouldn't make a great talk!