[Sugar-news] Sugar Digest 2008-08-18

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Aug 18 10:58:48 EDT 2008

=== Sugar Digest ===

1. Elections: The US presidential election is not the only opportunity
to organize for change. The polls are open for the Sugar Labs
oversight board (The list of candidates can be found at
Polls close on 31 August 2008.

2. 0.82: Simon Schampijer reports that Sucrose 0.82 has been released
(Please see http://sugarlabs.org/go/ReleaseTeam/Releases/Sucrose/0.82
for details and documentation). Many thanks to the release team and
our community contributors. They've done a great job.

3. 0.84 goals: Marco Pesenti Gritti has begun a discussion thread
about our goals for the 0.84 release (Please join the discussion,
which is archived at
http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/sugar/2008-August/007838.html). The
list currently includes:

* Next generation journal
* File sharing
* Group view/bulletin board
* Collaboration scalability
* Responsive UI
* Stable activities API
* Official Sugar LiveCD
* Compatibility with desktop applications
* Quality and reliability

Please also see http://sugarlabs.org/go/ReleaseTeam/Roadmap/0.84#Goals
in the wiki.

4. Constuctionism: The discussion around a succinct definition of
Constructionism has heated up again (Please see
While there is consensus that Sugar Labs should not be advocating just
"one right way" to learn, a concise explanation of the learning
opportunities exposed and enhanced by the Sugar learning platform
would go a long ways towards getting more educators engaged in the
discussion. We also would benefit from documenting some tangible
results from the field that can serve as exemplars.

This second wave of discussion began with Seth Woodworth dredging up
the Media Lab's Future of Learning group's definition of
Constructionism (this is the group founded by Seymour Papert):

 We are developing "Constructionism" as a theory of learning and education.
 Constructionism is based on two different senses of "construction." It is
 grounded in the idea that people learn by actively constructing new
 knowledge, rather than having information "poured" into their heads.
 Moreover, constructionism asserts that people learn with particular
 effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful
 artifacts (such as computer programs, animations, or robots).


The above definition does not sufficiently distinguish Constructionism
from "open-ended discovery" for the casual reader. Bill Kerr followed
up with a discussion of Cynthia Solomon's book, Computer Environments
for Children, in which she discusses four models of learning:
* Suppes: Drill and Practice and Rote Learning
* Davis: Socratic Interactions and Discovery Learning
* Dwyer: Eclecticism and Heuristic Learning
* Papert: Constructivism and Piagetian Learning

Martin Langhoff hit the nail on the head when he asked, "How do we
make this useful for teaching?"

What does Sugar offer in terms of affordances that can make a positive
impact in (and out of) the classroom? The key in my mind is that Sugar
facilitates collaboration (and critique); reflection (through the
Journal); and discovery, through its clarity of design and roots in

=== Community jams and meetups ===

5. Book sprint: The FLOSS Manuals Sugar/XO book sprint begins Sunday
in Austin, TX (Details are available at

===Tech Talk===

6. LiveCD: Wolfgang Rohrmoser reports an updated version of the XO
LiveCD (Please download it from
This release is based on Joyride 2282; it demonstrates many new Sugar
features and updated activities.

7. Firefox: C. Scott Ananian has made Firefox 3 available via
software-update (Please see

=== Sugar Labs ===

8. Self-organizing map (SOM): Gary Martin has generated another SOM
from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see


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