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

Bill Kerr billkerr at gmail.com
Sun Jan 4 09:16:39 EST 2009

On Sat, Jan 3, 2009 at 6:55 AM, Bryan Berry <bryan at olenepal.org> wrote:

> On Fri, 2009-01-02 at 15:18 -0500, Walter Bender wrote:
> > (3) We need lots more Activities.
> While there is consensus on this point, there is not consensus on the
> best way to get a lot more Activities. That is, pulling a lot more
> developers into building learning activities that run on Sugar.

I think what we need are quality activities from both a technical and
educational perspective, which is a different position from more activities

The way I read Bryan's position is that it is based on some particularities
of the Nepal situation some of which have been spelt out in the article but
some other educational conditions which were not spelt out

What has been spelt out:

   - Nepal is a poor country cf Uruguay and other Latin American countries
   (Purchasing Power Parity PPP$ adjusted income per person Uruguay 8,653;
   Nepal 1052)
   - Most Nepal teachers have not seen computers before unlike their Latin
   American counterparts
   - Nepal developers have existing skills in certain technologies (HTML,
   CSS, Javsscript, Flash) and not in others (Python, PyGTK)
   - Nepal developers are time strapped and have strong obligations to their
   - They do have time and willingness to contribute to more activities but
   that requires acceptance,  understanding and incorporation of their existing
   skill set into the sugar project

What was not spelt out (Bryan will correct me if I am incorrect):

   - Existing Nepal curriculum is very structured
   - Strong pressure on teachers and students to pass existing curriculum
   because of penalties involved for failing

I can see the logic of Bryan's position when the whole spectrum of Nepal
circumstances are spelt out but I'm wondering how much these factors, some
of which are local to Nepal, should influence the whole project. How much
should Bryan's Nepal necessity - FOSS paradox be transferred to the whole
project of activity development?

Local factors - such as the ability and willingness of the existing
education system to bend and adapt - will influence how the project develops
in different countries.

I'll write another comment which addresses the issues raised about
foundational skills and constructivism (by Bryan, Walter, Wade)

The main point I'm trying to make in this comment is that there may well be
a difference between the current Nepal necessity of developing more
activities due to all the factors above (local issues) and what I see as the
general need for quality activities. I don't see processes or much
discussion for quality control from an educational perspective in place.
Making activity developers happy is not the same thing as making all
educators happy.
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