[IAEP] feedback from school GPA/GAP message 6

Dennis Daniels dennisgdaniels at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 19:54:33 EDT 2009

No audio recordings by chance? Any photos? Video? It would be really
really nice if we could see what was going on... do you have
permission to record? You are running OLPC machines or standard Intel?
Is Sugar running in emulation mode?

Kids hook on to fads much like adults. Maze craze or whatever it was
called will soon be replaced by another (flash based web app) that
kids will 'demand'. A very real and continuing problem with getting
Linux any traction in schools. My favorite teaching sites for 2-6
grade were all flash/shockwave based. I had no control over the
software at the school but I had flash/shockwave and I could keep my
kids busy thinking problem solving for the entire year with the flash
content for edu on the web. Flash is good for teachers because it
makes their lives easy...

Most of what is described in the user problems sound/feel like the
same problems I've been having with Sugar... killing an application is
a slow and very difficult process... finding the close icon is NOT
easy or uniform, and there doesn't appear to be a universal hotkey
like alt +f4 to kill the troublesome apps, browser doesn't remember
URLs very well...

And surprisingly there's no 'report this error to the server' in
Sugar!... an automatic send error report that is so ubiquitous in Mac
and Windows... we can't really ask teachers to post coherent bugs
requiring them to dig into logs? The guys on the IRC have been patient
with me but I'll tell you, you have to know some *nix to get to those
buried nuggets of error logs!


I created a page to help with some of the Sugar activity shut down problems...

but, at least in emulation mode, grepping for a target app doesn't
give the desired response.

Does shutting down an activity really require going to the terminal?
I'm all for kids doing more but first we have to train teachers to do
this too... and that's a long rough road to slog.
7:05 you see the command kill pid XXXX

Quite a few of my struggles with Sugar are in closing unresponsive apps.

I also wanted to note that in the report Speak broke... well, it
totally crashed my system today and hard. Fedora11 stopped responding
at all after it knee-jerked back to Fedora log in. Serious crash. Not
seen anything like that on a unix machine in a long time. Got some
video of it here:

In closing I'm a little disappointed that the report from the field
sounds so much like my own experience. On the bright side, I'm not
alone in the struggle to get Sugar to play nice and do what I tell it
to do. ;)

> Message: 6
> Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 15:56:47 -0500
> From: David Farning <dfarning at sugarlabs.org>
> Subject: Re: [IAEP] GPA Class Notes August 5
> To: Greg Smith <gregsmithpm at gmail.com>
> Cc: iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org
> Message-ID:
>        <b6625b990908071356h4c8bdd0ctbc71697468785e64 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Greg,
> How have you been doing turning these reports in bug reports for the
> development side of the project?  If you would like, I can start
> working through your reports turning them into bug reports with a
> keyword such as GPA.
> david
> On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 1:12 PM, Greg Smith<gregsmithpm at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi All,
>> Here are my notes from the last class at Gardner public school on August 5.
>> Caroline, Bill, Anurag and I had a class with 9 x 3rd graders.
>> Caroline led the class.
>> Caroline introduced the class and saying we could not finish making
>> the games but we would try to make the computer talk and the kids
>> would take the USB sticks home today.
>> She asked who has computers at home and everyone raised their hand.
>> Then she asked what was the "coolest" thing they had done and what was
>> the most challenging. Three kids answered:
>> 1 -
>> coolest: making your own memorize game
>> most challenging: playing Conozco Uruguay in Spanish as some kids
>> didn't know Spanish
>> 2 -
>> Coolest: painting your own pictures.
>> Most challenging: getting pictures from the internet
>> 3 -
>> coolest and most challenging were the same: playing maze game.
>> Caroline then showed the kdis how to put a CD in and the USB stick
>> then reboot to bring up sugar. Kids went to the computers and that
>> went well. 4/5 kids got the USB in OK. 1/5 had trouble connecting it
>> and asked for help.
>> Back on the carpet Caroline explained the Home list view and how you
>> can flag activities there to show in the Home circle view. Then she
>> asked the kids to try that and to try playing some of the games. She
>> showed the physics game and the kids "oohed" at that.
>> Many kids had trouble finding the list view, understanding how to
>> click the star to pick activities and most difficult was to get back
>> to circle home view. See UI comments at the end for more, in short
>> they usually missed the need to click on the dot within circle icon in
>> the upper right from the Home|List view.
>> Several kids really wanted to play Maze but the scale was wrong and
>> they couldn't. Same problem for Physics. In both cases, a part of the
>> app was off screen. We definitely need a "screen resolution" option.
>> They tried Speak. In most cases they didn't hear it (possibly more
>> debugging data later from the team). It worked for one or two kids and
>> for one it was crashing the OS and needing reboot after working a
>> while.
>> We showed them Mama media stick builder, cartoon builder, solitaire
>> bounce a bunch of other games. They seemed to like them but often ran
>> out of patience or wanted to be shown what to do. Some kids decided to
>> try to chat. They needed instructions on how to connect with each
>> other (more below) but liked that once it was up.
>> Back on the carpet, Caroline explained how to go to Sugar activities
>> page and download new activities with the Implode game as an example.
>> Kids really wanted to play Scary Maze
>> (http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=scary+maze+game+3&aq=0&oq=scary+maze+game+&aqi=g10&fp=flbC24gbdiA)
>> but we said that wasn't available. I tried it via Flash later and it
>> worked fine but I wasn't sure its really kid appropriate. I realized
>> that they probably like it because of the adrenalin rush at being
>> scared when you make a small mistake. I think Nintendo 64, Game Boy
>> and other popular younger kid games also benefit from provoking the
>> adrenalin response. I think Sugar could use more adrenalin provoking
>> games....
>> Many kids needed help launching Browse and finding the sugar home
>> page. BTW often they ask for help because someone is there to help. If
>> no one was there they would probably soldier on themselves.
>> On activities page they tried to find Pacman to no avail. We also
>> found Gcompris maze games which they liked. Implode,Gcompris chess,
>> and bounce were also popular.
>> Caroline then exhorted them to wait until the computer shuts down
>> before taking out USB. Then they each took a boot helper CD and USB
>> stick and the class was over.
>> We debriefed mostly on UI suggestions and areas which were hard for
>> the kids. Not order comments:
>> - Drop down menus don't show fast enough. In general kids need some
>> kind of feedback on each click on when waiting (e.g. hour glass
>> cursor). This was most apparent when trying to shut down activities
>> because too many are running. I watched a kid do this by opening the
>> frame, clicking on the activity, waiting for the drop down, choosing
>> stop from that, then clicking the check mark in the Name This Journal
>> entry popup. He had about 6 activities open and it took him about 10
>> minutes to close them, mostly because he kept looking at what the next
>> kid over was doing while he waited for the menu to show. Also, the
>> check box to close Journal naming dialog was not obvious and in
>> general not needed. Possible improvement would be to make that an "X"
>> and to not even show it when someone closes from the frame or home
>> view and the activity has not changed since the last save/keep.
>> - When downloading new activities the count down was not always enough
>> feedback that the computer is "working". Also, if you don't click "OK"
>> and just download another file next, the original OK dialog/bar stays
>> there waiting until its gets its OK click.
>> - Bill mentioned that the names of "things" often includes the file
>> name or other data when it would be better to see a more human useful
>> name. One example is when they opened Turtle Art examples they read
>> the name nnnn.sa by pronouncing the extension. Seems related also to
>> my comment about how hard it is to find journal entries because the
>> full URL is listed first.
>> - Maze and physics were to big to fit on the screen. Not sure if that
>> is a problem of the actitvity itself, but a screen resolution changing
>> tool would be useful. This is important on SoaS when it wasn't so hot
>> on XO.
>> - Gcompris chess didn't save/keep when clicking the stop button.
>> - When trying to chat kids instinct was to have both kids open chat.
>> The way you must do it is to have one open chat then choose share with
>> my neighborhood. Kids needed to be shown where share with my
>> neighborhood drop down is. Most kids I saw clicked on the text "share
>> with". Its not clear enough that the oblong oval (rounded rectangle?)
>> next to that is a drop down list. They needed to be reminded to go to
>> the Neighborhood view. Once there they often clicked on the XO icon
>> above the chat icon. You need to click on the chat icon itself and
>> that's a consistent misconception. One kid asked for "emoticons" and
>> other images to put in the chat. Caroline thought that it would be
>> wise to allow kids to open chat then see what other chats are shared
>> or available from within the activity.
>> - Activities search tool on Sugar home page was a little troublesome
>> in two main ways: 1) hard to go back to start a new search after
>> digging a few clicks in. Back button works but would be nice to have a
>> "new search" link. 2) Hard to see a a list of all activities. Search
>> with blank text does it but not sure any kids would try that. Also, we
>> believe that there are some activities on OLPC wiki which are not on
>> the Sugar list (e.g. pacman and some eToys examples).
>> - Switching from list view to circle view was not clear. Here's the
>> click order as it stands now:
>> 1 -- Start at home|circle
>> 2 -- Click list view
>> 3 -- star/select activities
>> 4 -- Click circle view icon
>> Its step 4 that's problematic. Instinct when on list view and wanting
>> to see the circle is to click the dot within circle icon (F3). That
>> just leaves you at List|Home view. Most everyone ran in to this.
>> Another challenge is that the icons for switching from list <-> circle
>> are in the upper right corner. So you often hit the frame which has a
>> nice circle icon on it (=F3). In general, way too many UI elements are
>> right near the corner which pops up the frame.
>> - Kids consistently couldn't find the stop button. Either because it
>> was on a different tab or because the icon doesn't ring true.
>> That's it! Thanks a lot to Caroline et al for the chance to see the SW
>> in action.
>> I hope developers don't get too take it badly that there are lots of
>> "suggestions" or complaints. In general the SW is great, things go
>> well and its an awesome project. I just focus on continuous
>> improvement but ts nit meant as criticism.
>> Thanks,
>> Greg S
>> BTW I am 1 - 2 weeks behind on reading the lists. CC me directly as
>> needed and I hope to catch up a little before the end of August.
>> _______________________________________________
>> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
>> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
> ------------------------------
> Message: 7
> Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 16:07:37 -0500
> From: David Farning <dfarning at sugarlabs.org>
> Subject: Re: [IAEP] My videos are on Sugar Labs video site
> To: Dennis Daniels <dennisgdaniels at gmail.com>
> Cc: nicestep at gmail.com, iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org,       Luke Faraone
>        <luke at faraone.cc>
> Message-ID:
>        <b6625b990908071407j47a0a3c8q19795e79e28e26a8 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Dennis you are asking all the right questions!  The short answer would
> be search the archives:(
> The long answer is that we need teachers like you to insure that our
> wiki is complete, penetrable, and up to date.  Will you you be able to
> continue working with us after school starts?
> WRT the Google apps question.  Sugar Labs is registered as a 501(c)(3)
> under the umbrella of the Software Freedom Conservancy.  Sugar Labs is
> set up with Google as a school system.  As such, sugarlabs.org
> receives the full array of google Apps for free.  We can also request
> that Local Labs receive independent XX.sugarlabs.org domains _without_
> going through the full set of paperwork required for non profits.
> David
> On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 1:14 PM, Dennis Daniels<dennisgdaniels at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> The videos can only be viewed by those with a @sugarlabs.org account, which
>>> is a small group :)
>> It's a small group because you have to pay for this service, do you
>> not? Is Sugar 501(c)? Does Google offer discounts to NPOs or school
>> orgs?
> ------------------------------
> Message: 8
> Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 18:29:05 -0400
> From: Kevin Cole <dc.loco at gmail.com>
> Subject: [IAEP] Trouble trying to change my home view icon the "right"
>        way...
> To: IAEP SugarLabs <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>
> Message-ID:
>        <d9a4a1af0908071529s222f38fcj2c530877999752f7 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> Hi,
> Not sure where to ask, but rather than sign up for YAML (Yet Another Mailing
> List), I thought I'd try here first.
> In the past I changed my icon the wrong way, by overwriting computer-xo.svg.
>  It worked. Recently, on my XO running a clean install of the G1G1 802, I
> attempted to do it according to the FLOSS manual. For my initial test, so
> that I wouldn't mess up, I simply copied computer-xo.svg to my-xo.svg and
> verified owner and permissions were still the same. No joy. Instead, I get
> (in shell.log):
>> No icon with the name my-xo was found in the theme.
> and the icon is missing from the home view.
> What's the missing piece?  (Or is there a bug?)
> --
> Ubuntu Linux DC LoCo
> Washington, DC
> http://dc.ubuntu-us.org/
> -------------- next part --------------
> An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
> URL: http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/iaep/attachments/20090807/3275defd/attachment.htm
> ------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
> End of IAEP Digest, Vol 17, Issue 24
> ************************************

More information about the IAEP mailing list