[IAEP] How to Make Activity Designers Happy , Parts I and II

Bryan Berry bryan at olenepal.org
Fri Jan 2 00:32:39 EST 2009

On Thu, 2009-01-01 at 23:06 -0500, Chris Ball wrote:
> Hi Bryan,
>    > Sadly, Javascript can't use the Graphics Processing Unit like Flash
>    > can. Ouch,
> The XO doesn't have much of a GPU, so I wouldn't be so worried about
> this.  Any Javascript renderer that backs onto cairo will get as any
> other graphics on the XO.
>    > Many people will likely hate my promotion of Flash for learning
>    > activities. It's OK if you hate me and Flash. I do hope you
>    > recognize that we need a more developer-centric activity framework
>    > that uses web technologies.
> Making activity development easier is an unarguably fine goal, but I
> don't think there are any simple solutions.  For example, do we even
> have a Flash editor under Linux?  Is the first instruction on how to
> write activities for someone in the developing world going to be "First,
> pirate a copy of Windows and Adobe Flash Professional, and then.."?

If they know what computer programming is, they have likely already done
the above steps.

Developing learning activities requires the developer already know
something about programming. In Nepal, China, India that means they have
at least a pirated copy of Windows and possibly Adobe Flash. If they
have linux, that means that some time ago they had pirated Windows which
they used to learn about linux.

If they don't have a pirated copy of Windows then they don't have
computers to develop on.

The key is that the vast majority of programmers in the world are not
linux programmers and my 7 years experience in the developing world has
taught me that the vast majority of software developer there are web

The resulting activities have to be open-source but the IDE used to
develop them doesn't have to be.

All activities on the XO don't have to be hackable. Hacking teaches
important thinking processes but it doesn't teach grammar, art history
or biology. Someone can create a less-hackable-but open-source- flash
activity that teaches Tibetan art. It accomplishes the goal of teaching
the elements of Tibetan mandala paintings. That's a fair compromise.

There are 200-300 flash developers in Nepal and about 2 guys that have
written pygtk apps (maybe once). The numbers are more extreme in
Bangladesh, India, Pakistan. We can't bet on mass #'s of programmers
suddenly becoming linux developers in order to vastly increase the # of

Bryan W. Berry
Technology Director
OLE Nepal, http://www.olenepal.org

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