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

Bryan Berry bryan at olenepal.org
Fri Jan 2 11:04:53 EST 2009

On Fri, 2009-01-02 at 03:09 -0500, Chris Ball wrote:
> Hi Bryan,
>    > 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.
> That sounds plausible, at least for pirated Windows.  (I'm sure it's
> much harder to get a copy of Flash.)

not really. They sell dvds w/ pirated flash on the streets of Kathmandu.
The same is true for much of Asia. I don't know about Latin America.

> I'm not willing to incorporate "First, get a pirated copy of Windows
> and Flash" into my instructions for activity development, though.

The current setup requires the following of potential activity

First, learn linux. That may take you several months to become
comfortable with it. In particular you will have to learn the linux
filesystem well enough to manage file permissions and juggling

Next, Learn Python. This might take you several weeks

Then, learn the sugar idioms.

Finally, you're ready to get started on your first Sugar activity!

> We're supposed to be combating the inequity that says "we can create
> things on our computers because we're rich, but you don't get to do
> that on yours without breaking the law because you're poor".  That
> inequity is just as much a part of the digital divide as everything
> else we're trying to bridge over, in my opinion.

umm, I thought we were trying to empower kids how to learn for
themselves. Be it grammar, math, science, history, etc. 

I don't believe in the digital divide. I believe in the Quality Divide,
the huge quality differential b/w basic education for the world's poor
and the world's rich. That is the problem I am most focused on and
primary motivation for working on this project.

> It feels important to me to be able to say "Here's a software platform
> for you to start out with, and here's all of the software we used in
> the process of making it, which means there's nothing stopping you
> from learning to further it yourself".  A true passing on of knowledge
> from one group to another, as equals.

Developers can write flash using vi and the SWF compiler from the
command line http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/Download

This paragraph reflects the opinion that developers should have to learn
an entirely new set of tools to develop activities. I tried to make it
very clear that developers in the developing world do not have time to
learn a whole new set of tools. If that point did not come across to you
or you disagree w/ that point, please let me know.

> I imagine this is the kind of debate where no-one really changes their
> mind; that's okay.  As long as the viewpoint of software freedom as a
> foundational principle for Sugar (even in the face of extra convenience)
> is being represented and considered, I'm happy.

That foundational principle is very important to me. I do feel that
while the software and activities used on the XO have to be open-source,
the IDE's and other software tools used to build software for the XO do
not have to be open-source. 

> Thanks,
> - Chris.
Bryan W. Berry
Technology Director
OLE Nepal, http://www.olenepal.org

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