[IAEP] Shaftsbury, VT Technology Camp

Nicco Eneidi nbotticelli at gmail.com
Tue Jul 28 09:09:46 EDT 2009

Recently I just had a summer technology camp at an elementary school in
Shaftsbury, Vermont. It was a week long camp consisting of fourteen children
from surrounding schools (Shaftsbury, North Bennington, Bennington) in
grades 4/5/6-into-7th. Students learned how to install and configure Ubuntu
on their laptops early in the week along with going on a geocaching treasure
hunting trip and learning how to solder and make contact mics and create
experimental electronic instruments.
The highlight of the week was when on Friday July 24th Caroline Meeks came
up to do a workshop with the children on using SoaS. The students were given
2GB Patriot ruggedized usb drives to run Sugar on Nexlink rebranded Compal
EL81 laptops (fairly new).

A good chunk of the time on Sugar was on using Turtle Art which some of the
kids were somewhat familiar with since I had shown them KTurtle last year.
All of the children picked up Turtle Art though and really flew with it! It
was really incredible to see so many children just completely engrossed on a
computer operating system and it's software! I had children from a very wide
demographic with varying interests. Some of the kids were you're typical
techy-gamer types while most were not at all.

One particular child was actually coming from a local private school and had
been very nervous to be at this camp where she knew no one and had never
done anything like this before in her life. She is a very shy individual,
though highly intelligent and very advanced for her age (she can beat me in
chess!) and is more likely to be found drawing or painting, gardening, or
building a fairy home out in the woods. Before this camp she has never had
much to do with computers and never had much of a reason to.

Well on Friday July 24th she was really taking off with Sugar! After the
camp had ended she immediately went home and figured out how to boot her
parents laptop from the USB drive and spent the rest of the day playing with
Turtle Art and making really neat designs.

I want to thank the team at Sugar Labs for putting all of their time,
effort, and energy into creating this wonderful platform for young children
to use. It is so obvious to me that the "traditional" platforms that we
currently use in our buildings are just completely un-child oriented and
something needs to be changed.

Thank you Caroline for coming up here and presenting this to the children of
Southern Vermont, you have definitely made a few converts and the comments
and things they wrote on the wiki later on were super positive about Sugar!


Niccolo Botticelli Eneidi
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