[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] Deployment feedback braindump

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at gmail.com
Mon Aug 10 14:03:46 EDT 2009

Hi Daniel.,

excellent post - skipping to the "let's make it deployable" part, I
have to say I agree with all you say. - Some comments below

On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:41 PM, Daniel Drake<dsd at laptop.org> wrote:
> Secondly, this just won't work for deployments in general. Deployments
> are really difficult. You don't have enough people, so everyone is

Yes. I am looking now at all the barriers to a deployment team, and to
teachers in a crowded classroom. My mantra going forward is going to

 - am I knocking down a barrier to deploymeny?
 - am I simplifying teacher's life in the classroom?
 - am I giving an average 6~8 year-old a better learning opportunity?
 - am I significantly cutting the learning curve?

If it's not in very concrete terms on that list, then skip to the next task :-)

> In many of these places it is really difficult to find
> people with the required computing skillsets, and even if they exist
> they aren't likely to accept the piddly salary offered by your
> cash-strapped NGO or govt organisation.


> *really* challenging them (and sometimes, excluding them).

Most of thetime - excluding them.

> Now moving onto some things more directly related to deployment
> experience. As I stated in my questions above, I'm not sure, but I'm
> really hoping that sugar is just as dedicated as it always was to
> provide a really really simple UI for 6 year old children. Everything
> is so much harder in a classroom, and every small problem encountered
> causes significant disruption.

Yes. Even if 1 XO doesn't work or one child gets "lost" in a process,
it distracts ~4 users, because humans are social, and the chatter of
"won't work for me" stops progress. It only takes around 5% of users
having minor trouble to get 50% of the class distracted.

And at that point you have to give up on the XOs and turn to the blackboard.

Every little obstacle counts.

> How about the first boot experience - typing in your name and choosing
> colours? (...)

Sugar 0.84 makes that into every activity... it won't save unless you
give it a name for the document. Can we disable that? Maybe not in the
official SoaS but can there be a knob somewhere to revert it?

> We've all heard the problems of children deleting activities by now.
> I've also seen kids click the "disable wireless" box and then wonder
> why they can't get online. I think that this highlights 2 things --

That's been added for G1G1 and power user / developer userbase -

> Simplifying the user experience is *key* -- sugar has already taken
> many leaps in this area, let's keep this as a high priority, and make
> sure that this is communicated.

Can I propose Daniel for president?


> Sugar is obviously geared to constructionist learning which is
> generally carried out differently from normal learning using books,

Actually, having books is crucial for social constructionism too --
read it as much as your curioisity drives you to, revisit it as often
as you like. And then do the social things you'll naturally do with
what you discovered...

In short, listen to the man.

 martin.langhoff at gmail.com
 martin at laptop.org -- School Server Architect
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first
 - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff

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