[IAEP] Teacher in Uruguay enchanted to see his ideas integrated, into global Sugar update

Eben Eliason eben.eliason at gmail.com
Sat Sep 20 02:00:38 EDT 2008

+1 to both of you; well put.

On Sat, Sep 20, 2008 at 1:20 AM, C. Scott Ananian <cscott at cscott.net> wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 8:14 PM, Michael Stone <michael at laptop.org> wrote:
>> On Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 02:58:41PM -0400, Greg Smith wrote:
>>>I want to make sure that all of our work is grounded in specific
>>>requests and user goals. That has to come first before we design code or
>>>GUIs. Part of my work is to explain what is most important to users so I
>> Your fundamental request, interpreted literally, is in my opinion
>> _untenable_. Start from the mission statement:
> [...]
>> This mission statement clearly states that the goal is to provide
>> opportunity -- not to satisfy specific concrete user requests.
> Hmm, I fall in the middle of these two extremes. =)
> I think it is vital that we close the feedback loop.  But the tightest
> feedback loop will be with local groups, helping local people.  I'm
> coming around to the idea that OLPC should NOT be (for example)
> developing lesson plans for Tam Tam -- that's something local teachers
> can do much better (although we should provide support and ensure that
> plans made get communicated to others).  This is undoubtedly something
> asked for, but that doesn't mean that, for example, Michael Stone, C.
> Scott Ananian, and Chris Ball are the correct people to be writing
> lesson plans for kids far away.
> So, I lean with Michael on the "opportunity" perspective.  We need to
> be "thinking ahead" and ensuring that the extreme capabilities of our
> platform are demonstrated, so that local groups can effectively
> "finish the job" and do the tailoring for their local needs.  I'd like
> us to consider our job to be to provide an "OLPC construction kit"
> with all the pieces you might need to do the tailoring to make your
> custom suit.
> In that sense, core architectural features (collaboration
> infrastructure, journal backend, power management) are the most
> important things we can do: they are the foundation which local groups
> can build on.  We are not in the right place (physically!) to do the
> "last mile" stuff.  We *do* have a shot of being in the right place
> (right near Red Hat HQ! well connected with upstream and kernel
> developers!) to do the "distro" stuff.
> So, IMO, you're both right.  Greg: we absolutely need to concentrate
> on our feedback as Job #1.  I'm still rather disappointed when we
> consistently hear from our users that (say) they get confused because
> the text they type ends up in the search box and switches them from
> ring to list view, or that they can't tell whether they are connected
> to a network or not, or (hitting close to my home) that olpc-update
> takes too long, and we dismiss that feedback -- oh yes, but that's how
> we *designed* it, so it must be right, you just don't understand our
> grand plan.  But on the other hand, I absolutely don't think we should
> give up our core architecture work in order to concentrate on writing
> Tam Tam lesson plans for schools in Afghanistan.  (Or devote "six
> months to bug fixing" putting other development on hold, as has been
> proposed.)  We need to be responsive to feedback *and* keep
> concentrating on our strengths, moving the platform forward, and
> encouraging local groups to do last-mile development.  We also need to
> aggressively document what we do and teach others, keeping in mind
> that everything we write is just the first part of a project others
> will finish.
>  --scott
> --
>  ( http://cscott.net/ )
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