[IAEP] SoaS with Rosie's Girls

Nicco Eneidi nbotticelli at gmail.com
Mon Aug 10 11:15:38 EDT 2009

On Friday, August 7th, I presented Sugar to fifteen girls ages 10-13 who
were participants in the Rosie's Girls Summer Program. Rosie's Girls was
designed to build confidence in young female students and to introduce them
to non traditional career paths that they may not otherwise have been
encouraged to explore on their own.

The time I had with the students was limited (I had to beg my boss to let me
get away for an hour from imaging computer labs in other schools) and the
mobile laptop lab that we used had not had their batteries charged prior so
we had to quickly steal extension cords from the janitors for power. The
camp was held at the local high school so most classrooms were unavailable
and so we had to set up in the atrium.

Using the atrium was a poor choice because it turned out to be a very loud
room and for someone to hear you from fifteen feet away you almost have to
yell; once you get a few giggly girls talking to each other it is near
impossible to understand anything.

I introduced them to Turtle Art, Speak, and the Physics activities. Again,
time was very limited so I wasn't able to go much into detail about things
but they were able to spend some time on each activity. Unfortunately the
network was down in the building and I wasn't able to bring my own wifi
router like I had planned. I think if we had been able to get online or at
least on the network that some of the things we did would have been able to
be expanded much better if they got to explore the collaborative aspects of

At the same time all three of the camp counselors had disappeared while I
was presenting Sugar and I think part of the noise issue was because they
had taken off and the students didn't really know me at all and so maybe a
sort of "substitute teacher" energy was occuring which made the noise issue

Some students were into it and I think understood what was going on while
others were fairly confused as to what they were supposed to be doing and
why. I can imagine going from welding and working on engines one moment to
playing with a new operating system the next can be somewhat confusing and
not as exciting (Welding, sparks! fire!).

At the end I explained how to to safely handle the flash drives and how they
may be able to boot from them at home or other locations and they got to
keep the drives.

Later one of the councelors came back to help me clean up and apparently the
students were actually quite excited about Sugar and were all talking about
it in the next classroom. Sometimes it's hard to tell if a kid is into
something and they may not show it to your face but later on it turns out
they really enjoyed it. I'm still trying to learn how to pick up on these
cues and what they mean.

So, two questions about Sugar for possible future presentations:

1. Can Sugar be run in some sort of ad-hoc mode where laptops with wifi can
connect directly to each other and create their own network without a
central AP/router?
2. If all computers are connected to a network without internet access is it
true that if you take out of the jabber server address in the settings menu
that the computers on that section of the local network should see
eachother? If so, how well does this actually work? Is it reliable to try it
with a group of students?

For more info about the camp you can check out their site:
Thank You!

Niccolo Botticelli Eneidi
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