[IAEP] Teacher in OLPC-Sur list enchanted to see his idea integrated, into global Sugar update [First approach] (luis ACEVEDO)

Bill Kerr billkerr at gmail.com
Thu Sep 25 06:47:24 EDT 2008

On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 2:29 AM, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com>wrote:

> There are still a few loose ends to tie with the Turtle Art
> modification. I am trying to make it into somewhat of a case study
> that can be hopefully a catalyst not just to rote imitation but also
> to some deductive or model-based thinking about thinking. Also, the
> exercise has raised a few questions for me about our process that I
> hope to address/document.
> I realize that teachers don't have time to be developers, but I aspire
> that everyone will move towards all kinds of appropriation.
> Alas, I wish that OLPC had included the chapter on Modifying Sugar in
> their Help activity...

The idea of building a  bridge for that small percentage (I agree with rob's
figures) who want to be developers is a good one

I've asked a friend over to talk me through
http://sugarlabs.org/go/Patching_Turtle_Art I'm lucky to have such a friend,
otherwise I would have to ask dumb questions in public, which is not good
for teacher ego since teachers are meant to know things already :-) I would
identify fear of looking dumb as a major obstacle to these bridging

Some educators have written about what it means to join a community - what
does it actually mean to be a scientist, a basketball professional or a
software developer? eg. James Gee wrote a book about how computer games
could be used in this way. He identifies these elements of joining what he
calls a semiotic domain:

   1. we learn to experience the world in a new way: see, feel and operate
   2. we gain the potential to join a new social group, a new club
   3. we gain the resources that prepare us for future learning and problem
   solving in a new domain and perhaps related domains

He's trying to draw a distinction between simple knowledge and being part of
a community of knowledge, the latter being the real deal

When I read through walter's account, already knowing a little bit (but not
a great deal) about programming, python, logo, turtle art, visual
programming I still have really basic questions to ask - things that are so
transparent to developers that it may not occur to even think of them as
questions or problems that have to be overcome before being engaged in this

   - Where do you find things (python files, source code)
   - Which things do what? How does walter know which python files have to
   be tweaked?
   - Who do you communicate with? (I didn't know that Brian Silverman was
   the maintainer and didn't know his email)
   - How do you program more advanced stuff in python, eg. using lambda?
   - What is FOSS etiquette, how do you go about learning to be a member of
   this community?

Due to the reality of being a teacher (lack of time, large classes, the need
to keep kids busy on task, schools and communities dominated by propriety
software) all of the above is problematic - but as rob says a small % of
teachers and a bigger percentage of students are open to it.
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