[IAEP] Fwd: Sugar Ambassadors

Sean DALY sdaly.be at gmail.com
Mon Jun 8 18:34:29 EDT 2009

I appreciate the Fedora Ambassadors concept as I understand it but I
am not sure it's the best approach for Sugar Labs... it seems to me
more oriented towards contributor recruitment... the fedora press page
for example invites journalists to "get involved", which is on-topic
for contributor recruitment but is misses by a mile the fact that
journalists, analysts and bloggers cannot get involved in *anything*
they cover due to conflict of interest; the best one should hope for
is a fair shake.

Events such as FOSDEM, FOSS VT, LinuxTag, FOSS ED, NECC DC are an
amazingly efficient way to change influential minds, but they are
expensive to go to and difficult to attend when there are so few of
us. We seem to have an Events Calendar
but I'm not sure it's in use... it would be the logical departure
point for in-person recruitment efforts.

Now, I certainly agree that contributor recruitment is key for us and
I think every team could use more hands, but I would venture that we
need to choose another priority: getting feedback from schools where
we are and getting into schools where we aren't. In particular, we
need teacher-contributors to bridge the wide gap between our
development efforts and classrooms with Learners.

I have been monitoring the varied OLPC project field studies for some
time and I am struck by a nearly universal aspect: the study authors
don't invest the time necessary to learn how to use Sugar and so miss
its benefits (most studies don't even cite "Sugar"). Time after time
we hear about kids at school chatting on their mesh network, taking
and swapping photos, writing together... and the difficulties of
teachers to cover learning subjects. The evidence seems to indicate
that teachers are slower at learning than grownups (there's truth in
that; my 4-year old son completed 8 mazes in a row yesterday with no
assistance, more than I ever have), but I would suggest there is
another factor: there is no defined "teacher computer" in the OLPC
architecture aside from an XO. I don't mean an XS school server as I
understand it, but a bigger screen/keyboard machine running Sugar on
the teacher's desk. With increased authority status, an "admin" for
Learners? It's open to debate given Sugar's theoretical underpinnings,
but my personal feeling is that providing teachers with tools (say,
deactivating video filming in the class when work needs to get done,
reactivating after) will have a positive impact on teacher buy-in and

This by the way is right in line with the nascent Education Team
(http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Education_Team)... its mission is to
reach out to teachers and to assist those doing so; I say our best
ambassadors will be on that team... ideally, technically adept
teachers talking to other teachers... because the Sugar-GNU/Linux
stack, not being preinstalled, does require some technical
hurdle-jumping. SoaS is designed to reduce these technical barriers
and will succeed its ambitious goals as its relatedsupport materials
become available, but non-XO preinstalled Sugar is not on the horizon
yet and until then, teachers need helpers.

So... although marketing does cover all aspects of communication (from
booth swag, to sales points flyers, from publicist work with
journalists to the Learner-GUI interaction experience), and as
marketers we will always be thinking of branding and strategy, I think
the way forward is to build on the Education team... start by
recruiting a teacher to coordinate it... and take it from there. I'd
be interested in participating in those meetings, but I feel a teacher
will have far more credibility explaining Sugar to other teachers than
marketers (or developers or... :-) will.

By the way this could be a handle to contact K-8 bloggers... tell them
that Sugar Labs seeks a teacher coordinator and ask them the best way
to go about finding one?

Finally, I want to mention the snowball effect... it will become far
easier to recruit contributors as Sugar becomes more widespread. We
are on track to do that, with great code and a coherent marketing


On Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 10:58 PM, David Farning<dfarning at sugarlabs.org> wrote:
> Hey all,
> Below is a thread on Sugar ambassadors from last week.  I meant to
> send it to iaep with a few follow on cc's.  Looks like I left off
> iaep.
> david
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: David Farning <dfarning at sugarlabs.org>
> Date: Sat, Jun 6, 2009 at 7:59 PM
> Subject: Sugar Ambassadors
> To: Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com>, Caroline Meeks
> <caroline at solutiongrove.com>, Walter Bender <walter at sugarlabs.org>
> We have hinted around the edges several times about the importance of
> an ambassadors program for Sugar Labs.
> The basic idea behind the ambassadors programs is to help people such
> as Caryl feel like they have what they need to effectively communicate
> to various groups about Sugar and Sugar Labs.
> At some levels this is a marketing issue but at other levels, this is
> a community building issue.
> I am willing to get the program started.  I would like to hand it off
> to someone with actual social skills as soon as possible.  At the
> OLPCFrance day of SugarCamp, I was much more comfortable sitting
> upstairs with Scott Meeks and Gary Martin than talking and mingling.
> We can start by collecting a list of interesting events and a set of
> inspiring resources.
> From there we can organically let the natural 'ambassadors' learn what
> works for their local events and share those best practices with each
> other.
> Should we roll this into the marketing team for now and split off when
> we get to big for the marketers to handle us?  Yep, that is a
> challenge:)
> david
> _______________________________________________
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