[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2009-08-27

Caroline Meeks solutiongrove at gmail.com
Thu Aug 27 23:30:01 EDT 2009

> 3. Bernie Innocenti and I spent a day in Barre VT with Paul Flint,
> Kevin Cole, Nicco Eneidi, Colin Applegate, et al. to discuss the role
> Sugar might play in various education initiatives in the region.
> Despite too much driving in pouring rain, it was a fun, productive
> session. (Bernie helped Colin get up to speed on packaging for Ubuntu
> (Colin has subsequently build Sugar 0.86 for Jaunty) and did some
> debugging of Turtle Art while engaging in discussion with some
> teachers. One provocative question that was raised: What is the
> advantage of a "platform" as opposed to a bunch of cool applications?
> There are many cool applications out there and commercial (e.g.,
> kidzui, which caters to parents who want someone else to worry about
> what Internet content is appropriate for their children) and
> non-commercial (e.g., Curriki, a place where teachers can pick and
> chose applications and content that meet specific curricula demands)
> collections. What is the advantage of the Sugar approach? We can sing
> the praises of many aspects of the Sugar platform—the Journal, the
> collaboration model, integrated view source, etc.—but I think it
> ultimately comes down the way in which these features enhance the
> ability to bring multiple learners together around a collection of
> activities to engage in authentic investigations. This is a potential
> that is not yet fully realized, but having spent time this summer
> watching children move fluidly across multiple activities to, for
> example, build a memory game, is seeing Sugar at its best.

I agree with this but I also think equal access and consistent experience at
home, school and after-school programs is an important advantage.  When we
spoke with the 4th grade teachers at GPA this week they mentioned that they
had previously used a web based program and that the kids who had access at
home zoomed ahead and those that did not were left behind.  Both OLPC and
Sugar on a Stick have the potential to extend access to computing outside
school walls and hours, and thus extend learning time.
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