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

Wade Brainerd wadetb at gmail.com
Fri Jan 2 14:54:53 EST 2009

On Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 2:41 PM, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com>wrote:

> I don't think anyone is arguing that we should preclude people from
> using whatever tools they have at hand.

I think the question is how well the Sugar community *supports* using using
a particular tool (Flash, Javascript) by making it convenient, not whether
they are precluded.  This is more an allocation of resources question than a
philosophical one.

> I find that Sugar contributors from developed countries are focused more
> > on high-level thinking because that is a deficiency in their local
> > school systems. Their kids can do basic math and _usually_ know basic
> > grammar. Poorer countries are focused on basic numeracy and literacy.
> > You can't program until you can add and read.
> >
> > Countries like Peru and Brazil have schools where kids are ready to
> > focus on high level problems. They also probably have schools struggling
> > to impart basic literacy and numeracy.
> I don't understand the construing of constructionism with "exclusively
> high-level math and science" and I don't quite what you mean by
> "foundational skills". I don't think anyone would argue that we don't
> want numeracy and literacy to be "low shelf" tools in every child's
> repertoire, but what does this have to do with the other topics in
> this thread?

I read this as saying that the constructivist activities that have been
developed *so far* by programmers in developed countries tend to focus on
high level concept learning rather than foundational skills.  And I agree
with this statement.

I'm currently working on Typing Turtle, a typing trainer for the XO.  One
could say "they have Write and Chat, they will learn how to type" - that
would be a constructivist approach.  I feel like there is a need for more
focused training of fundamental 'low shelf' skills, that's why I'm working
on that particular activity.

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