[Dextrose] [AC UPDATE] tch's edition

Martin Abente martin.abente.lahaye at gmail.com
Mon Feb 7 20:56:18 EST 2011

As David mentioned today, every member will share with rest of the team an
update report, so everyone can understand each other work context. I will be
first, and I will talk a little bit of Paraguay Educa, their current status
and how do we (AC) interact with them.

Paraguay Educa is starting officially the phase II of their OLPC project in
which they will deliver 5000 XO 1.5 laptops in the city of Caacupe, where
they already have approximately 4000 XO 1.0 laptops.

What does this means for the deployment? It means that they will be insanely
busy dealing with:

* The communicational campaign.
* The coordination between Paraguay Educa and schools (Principals, Teachers,
Parents and Students) for the events that come along with the laptops
delivery day. Trust me, it is a very happy day for the community.
* A huge and complex logistic schedule that requires moving the laptops from
Asunción port  (50 kilometres) to rural and urban schools in Caacupe, while
at the same time they keep track of every laptop until they arrive on the
children's hands.

Anyone should be able to understand how critical is this time for them. They
need to think and think again every detail of every task that is required in
order to accomplish a successful delivery. Even though the delivery is only
the beginning of this second phase, but this literally consumes all their
human resources.

If that was not enough, they are also planning a massive software upgrade in
Caacupe not only for the 5000 new XO 1.5 laptops, but also for the current
4000 XO 1.0 laptops. This means that in the next couple of months there will
be 9000 childrens and teachers in the classrooms of Caacupe learning with
Dextrose2. And here is where AC takes part in this colossal event.

In the last months we have been working really hard to identify the software
requirements for the phase II, through constant and frecuent meetings with
Paraguay Educa technology team. At the same time we were implementing the
solutions to fulfil those requirements. Just to mentions some of them:

* Improved interaction between the system and the user (notification
* Improved maintainability with a short and middle term updater (automatic
yum updater).
* Improved methods for gathering feedback from the user (automatic feedback
* Many enhancements and bug fixes.

Still many people wonders: are these features what the childrens want? The
answer is definitely no. What the children want is a playstation III,
actually. But these features are certainly what this deployment need in
order to improve this learning platform and turn it into something that
every project needs: a stable and reliable platform that helps them in the
challenge of improving the learning process of their children.

So, we are done? definitely no. A few weeks ago we started a critical phase
for us: testing. This means that we are delivering our solutions to the
people who is really using it everyday, so they can tell us if it really
works for them, in this case the Formadores. For the ones who does not know
the Formadores, I will explain.

The formadores are the ones who have the challenge to train the school
teachers so they can the use sugar and its activities. After that, they
visit the schools regularly to help and to encourage the teachers to use the
laptop in the classroom. Teaching to teach is certainly a hard task,
considering that most of these teachers have zero prior knowledge of how to
use a computer. Personally I think the fact that they are able to
successfully do it (in a relative short training course) speaks very well of
Sugar and obviously, of the formadores itself.

We can see the formadores as the front line of the experienced sugar users
in caacupe, which is perfect for our testing purposes. But we need to
consider that they have their own agenda, not only preparing contents for
the teachers and trainning but also doing a little bit of everything.
Paraguay Educa is a very small team, and everyone does a little bit of
everything, so the formadores will also have a protagonist role in all the
tasks I mentioned before, prior to the delivery of the laptops. From
flashing the laptops, helping with the logistic steps of the delivery,
coordinating and presenting the events, etc.

That is why we need to put extra effort in the next couple of weeks to show
them that we are also working hard to fix the bugs they report and to make
sure dextrose2 can fulfil their and our expectations.

Hope this was enlightening as I intended it to be. :)
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