[IAEP] three recommendations from a naive teacher

Dennis Daniels dennisgdaniels at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 10:20:42 EDT 2009

I'm new to Sugar and as a teacher I'm very much concerned about my
users' experience and avoiding confusion or unwarranted chaos on my
end... I'm recording screencasts what I discover as a first time user
to Sugar. For the record, it took nearly two days on and off to get a
stable version of Sugar installed on my intel laptop PC. From an
admin's perspective, this required way too much time. Teachers are not
techs and the Sugar install required a lot of technical know how...

Furthermore, we can be pretty certain that there are a lot of places
in the world that are NOT going to see OLPC realized. It's noble but
it's not been practical yet and teachers and schools are usually at
their best when it comes to practical thinking. Budgets determine a
lot of that thinking. Sugar, IMHO, needs to look to the VAST numbers
of cheap Intels that litter the planet as a place to get kids and
teachers involved with computing. And that means Sugar needs to be
easy to install for the most naive(read teacher) users.

I for one am experiencing very little joy as a naive user or a
potential teacher/user of Sugar in a classroom. I feel like very
little is easy or intuitive which would run counter to the news and
the intended purpose of the software, I know.

What is the usual training time set for teachers on Sugar? Are those
trainings packaged with videos for distribution? Is the focus on a
Sugar install on a small set of core apps? I believe Write and
TurtleArt get a lot of 'play' in the documentation and support media.

If anyone is lucky enough to have a group of young users to test Sugar
on, please install a screencasting tool to record their actions,
successes and struggles as _I fear that my struggles are not unique_.
I'm going to try and find a youngster to try Sugar out on and record
what they say and do. It's probably a good exercise for all Sugar devs
and supporters.

I would highly recommend a link to a video library of .ogv trainings
(I know youtube and etc. won't work for licensing reasons) that can be
accessed online or as part of the install. I understand that language
is a barrier but video will go a long way to explaining how something
works to naive users than text. Again, harking back to an earlier
plea, better support for screencasts would make some of the opacity of
Sugar go away, as OTHER users could provide support Sugar in media

Three recommendations:
1-Fully implement screencasting so we can get students to create
howtos...(offer .ogv storage?) teachers are too busy and don't know
much anyway. OLPC has a few 100K students already right? Get their
support for making screencast howtos.

2-Ubuntu has a huge user base: Get Sugar working on Ubuntu and ask for
that user base support in screencasting.

3-Get an installer that is easy to use... Wubi is nice as it's a
one-click install. (I personally have spent hours trying to get Soas
to play nice, Ubuntu/sugar to work, Fedora/Sugar to work... only the
last one succeeded and the IRC people suggested that I may not be
running it correctly... but it's running which is a lot given how long
I spent trying to get it to work without crashing; SoaS and Ubuntu
sugar installs.)

Why am I doing this? Pure self-interest. I'm going back into the
classroom soon. I know the value of a fully networked classroom and
what it does to help students and teachers. Sugar offers some fixes to
problems that I had when I was running my LTSP lab so I would like
Sugar to work without requiring so much of my attention or a whole lot
of student training.

with sincere regards and thanks to all those who have worked on Sugar,

lost and found:
GoogleTalk: dennisgdaniels
skype : dennisdaniels

Sent from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

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