[IAEP] A video about a 1-1 Apple laptop middle school in NYC - School Surveillance and a discussion on Multitaskingr

Sean DALY sdaly.be at gmail.com
Tue Sep 8 05:20:22 EDT 2009

I agree with Bastien. Helping teachers doesn't disadvantage Learners.
Teachers need our support. The great advantage of Sugar is its
collaboration. Learners should be able to easily identify the teacher
with a larger avatar for example. Teachers need to know what's going
on without running around the classroom. Although it's more fun to
take photos, record videos, and chat than study maths, teachers need
to have Learners concentrating on learning in the classroom. With 1:1
computing, Learners have plenty of time for creating and collaborating
outside the classroom.

There is little existing software to meet these needs; the
"interactive whiteboard" vendors have defined the market. Blackboard
Inc. is the market leader. Intel has made Windows-only SMART software
the centerpiece of the Classmate offer

Let's look at it another way. Dell is claiming success for its
education netbook (the Latitude 2100 visible here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/39656470@N02/3649026438/) which it
developed following studies, focus groups and 2 pilots. One of its
selling points is an LED "tattletale" bar which lights up by default
when there is wireless network activity. However, the light can be
called by software - indicating that a child has completed a task, or
is taking too long on a step, or wishes to signal the teacher
silently. Dell has said that teachers appreciate seeing immediately
who is surfing instead of studying. Note that Dell has no
collaboration offer (Ubuntu is standard on that machine though it is
likely many schools are choosing Windows XP in particular for older
kids) so network activity is considered "bad". However, this is a
software limitation. Dell has said they are looking at a multicolor
bar in future versions to signal several states at once.

OLPC's detractors cite an anti-teacher bias which may not serve the
project. I believe teacher support in Sugar (including backups, XS
support, Moodle integration, etc.), particularly in non-XO deployments
such as Sugar on a Stick, will allow classroom collaboration to
flourish - children won't lose their work, teachers won't lose time
solving technical problems. Sugar will have far lesser impact without
teacher buy-in. While aiding teachers will I am sure encourage
widespread use of Sugar.

A final observation. Learning and collaboration are different for
6-year olds and 10-year-olds, for gadget-experienced kids and kids who
have never had a computer, for Internet-connected and
sneakernet-connected classrooms, for learning math and assembling a
report with images and text from the Net. I think issues of teacher
monitoring and control should be discussed in specific contexts.
Teachers will provide us with the most likely classroom scenarios
Sugar should be able to adapt to.


On Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 12:06 PM, Bastien<bastienguerry at googlemail.com> wrote:
> "Benjamin M. Schwartz" <bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu> writes:
>> Dennis Daniels wrote:
>>> That's one of the reasons I was initially attracted to Sugar in that
>>> the peer networking was built in... please tell me that one station
>>> monitoring of all students is built in as well.
>> Nope. No monitoring built in.  However, I have recently implemented it as
>> an Activity called "Watch Me" [1].
>>> If it isn't then it
>>> should be for the teacher's sake.
>> 1.  As a technical matter, this is not so easy over a congested wireless
>> network.
>> 2.  We care much more about students than teachers.  Is it good for the
>> students?
> Who is "we"?
> I personally think this reasoning is very wrong.  I wish Sugar can be
> developed in a way that "caring about the students" and "caring about
> the teachers" are complementary challenges, not opposite tasks.
> Everytime someone sees the teachers as a barrier to learning, he gives
> credit to the illusion of spontaneous learning, and we loose the Sugar
> audience.
> Learning by oneself is very different from "spontaneous" learning, and
> good teachers have a great expertise in guiding students throught what
> they want or need to learn "by themselves".
> In fact, "learning by oneself" should be considered kind of a tautology:
> what we learn is what WE learn.
> If the first learner was Menon, let's not forget he had a great teacher.
>> In other words, Sugar's design comes from a culture with a deep distrust
>> of authority figures.  I got my programming start by hacking my school's
>> computer systems, and I'm sure the same is true of many other contributors
>> here.  You will find plenty of opposition to letting teachers watch what
>> students are doing without permission.
> I don't think there is a relevant connection between dictatorship and
> teachers monitoring their classrooms via the system Dennis is calling
> for.  But maybe there will be a link between the lack of such system
> and the lack of Sugar in classrooms.
> Regards,
> --
>  Bastien
> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep

More information about the IAEP mailing list