[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] [DESIGN] 'Resume' vs 'Start a new' Activity

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Sat Jan 9 00:21:26 EST 2010

On Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 19:14, Gerald Ardito <gmanb5 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Edward,
> This is very helpful.
> Thanks.

My pleasure. I have lots more of this sort of thing in draft. Let me
know of any other such issues you have run into, and I can give you
what I have, or think about it further. There are numerous uses for
left-click, double-click, triple-click, click-and-drag, right click,
hover, and in some systems mouse gestures. I use a four-button
trackball, and my son uses a special game control mouse, but we don't
have to get into all of that with Sugar. ^_^

It will also be helpful, if you try my suggested process, to document
how long it takes for children in a given class to catch on to an
idea, and how long it takes for it to become automatic. I don't know
how we can instrument such a study, but I expect that someone here
will have an idea. I expect to see variations by age, by prior
computer experience (positive or negative), and by cultural and social

BTW, nobody should suppose that this succession of ideas is finished
and perfect. No amount of sympathetic imagination can substitute for
classroom experience, any more than a battle plan can survive contact
with the enemy. I want to hear suggestions for improvement, and I want
to hear about other issues that arise. Alan Kay has said that it takes
about a year to polish a math or physics lesson, and I will be
surprised if it is very much shorter for each of the key issues in

> Gerald
> On Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 9:27 AM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Excellent post. We need lots more like it to give us real-world
>> information on children's learning issues.
>> I am documenting these problems in [[The Undiscoverable]], and working
>> on a guide for teachers to introduce and reinforce whatever children
>> have trouble with. It has been on hold during my move from California
>> to Indiana, but I can resume work now.
>> Have you tried giving explicit lessons on Start New and Resume as part
>> of larger lessons? Something like this, perhaps:
>> Class, we worked on [activity, function] yesterday, and we wanted to
>> know how to [other function]. Let's see if we can discover how to do
>> that in [activity]. First, right-click on [activity name] and select
>> New to start a new session. Then click the [tab name] tab, and look
>> at the controls. Do any of them look as though they do what we want?
>> What happens when you try them?...
>> At the end of the session, have students exit and give the session a
>> meaningful name related to the idea you were teaching.
>> Later:
>> Do you remember what we did with [new idea from yesterday]? [Responses
>> from class] Now go to your Journals and click the [name] session to
>> resume it.
>> Do this as often as necessary in different activities until you are
>> sure that the students remember it. Let me know how this works.
>> I used to do this as the very first lesson in teaching adults word
>> processing and text editing.
>> 1. Start program. (Most apps give you an empty document by default. If
>> not, create one.)
>> 2. Save empty file in specified directory with any name.
>> 3. Type something.
>> 4. Save again.
>> 5. Close file, or create new document.
>> 6. Re-open file.
>> 7. Exit program.
>> 8. Find file, and click to resume.
>> On Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 03:09, Simon Schampijer <simon at schampijer.de>
>> wrote:
>> > Hi,
>> >
>> > I have observed certain difficulties with the 'resume' and 'start a new'
>> > activity concept. At the moment we have the following situation:
>> >
>> > *** Current Situation:
>> > In the Home View you can resume an activity and start a new one. The
>> > option to start a new activity is in the palette of the activity icon. A
>> > list of last entries from this activity type is present in the palette
>> > as well. When you click on the icon with the left mouse button, the last
>> > activity is resumed by default. Clicking with the right mouse button on
>> > the icon does reveal the activity palette. The activity is revealed
>> > after a delay when hovering over the icon, too. Since version 0.86 when
>> > you hold the alt-key pressed and click on the activity icon you can
>> > start a new activity. This is visually guided by the uncolored activity
>> > icon.
>> >
>> > In the Journal you can resume activities. There is no option to start a
>> > new activity from within the Journal.
>> >
>> >
>> > *** Background:
>> > I teach a Sugar class of 15 students (5th and 6th grade) in a German
>> > primary school [1]. The classes are on a weekly one hour basis. They had
>> > 10-15 hours of Sugar by now. We use Sugar 0.84 on Fedora 11. I explained
>> > the concept of the Journal, repeated several times how to start a new
>> > activity and how to resume one. I explained them that revealing of the
>> > palette is quicker when using the right mouse button.
>> >
>> >
>> > *** Disclaimer:
>> > The information below is not meant to be hard data. There are
>> > differences in backgrounds (cultural etc), ages and quite importantly: a
>> > difference between a first time user, a regular user and a daily user.
>> > Some might as well question if I have chosen the right methodical way to
>> > explain things, and be sure sometimes I do question myself, however the
>> > data gathered might be a good basis for discussing this issue and maybe
>> > others will provide some data, too.
>> >
>> >
>> > *** Observations:
>> > Most of the kids click on the activity icon when they want to start a
>> > new activity. Since there is a delay to reveal the palette, the learner
>> > does not see the other information in the palette.
>> >
>> > When they resume a previous activity, and they wanted to start a new
>> > one, I have seen learners erasing the previous content and keep on
>> > working in that activity.
>> >
>> > Nearly all the kids do not use the right click to reveal the palette.
>> > They wait for it to appear.
>> >
>> >
>> > *** Survey:
>> > Last class I asked the learners in a small survey the following
>> > questions:
>> >
>> > A: How do you do a new drawing in TurtleArt?
>> > R:
>> > Some: Nothing, or did misunderstood the question.
>> > Some: I click on TurtleArt.
>> > One said: One clicks with the right mouse on TurtleArt and clicks with
>> > the left one on New.
>> > One said: Go on TurtleArt, wait, click New.
>> >
>> > A: How do you edit a previous drawing in TurtleArt?
>> > R:
>> > Many: Go to the Journal and resume there.
>> > One: Go to Journal or right click and choose the one one want to resume.
>> > One: Go on TurtleArt and choose the name one wants to resume.
>> > Some: Nothing / did not understand the question
>> >
>> > A: Is there a difference between the right mouse click and the left
>> > mouse click?
>> > R:
>> > One: it is quicker to use the right mouse button.
>> > Some: you get a new field/list.
>> > Many: Nothing / did not understand the question
>> >
>> >
>> > *** Comments:
>> > The concept of using the Journal to resume a previous activity does work
>> > very well for the kids. With adding the list of previous activities to
>> > the activity palette in the home view we added that concept to the home
>> > view. The issue is, it is a secondary option. There is only one way in
>> > Sugar to start a new activity - to work from scratch. And this is a
>> > secondary option.
>> >
>> > For me it would be worth trying to test going back to create a new one
>> > by default, as I think this is what my learners somehow expected.
>> >
>> > Small additions to the activity palette could be helpful, too. Adding
>> > the journal date field to the entries. And having headers like in [2],
>> > though I think there was a technical issue with this.
>> >
>> > Another improvement could be to cut the delay, so the secondary options
>> > are more prominent. Or, the left mouse click would reveal the palette
>> > and the learner then needs to decide what option to choose. This would
>> > clash with the rest of the UI I guess.
>> >
>> > I remember we had some design mockups quite some time ago, where a
>> > certain amount of Journal entries where displayed in the home view in a
>> > horizontal time line. Maybe this would help to make the Journal more
>> > accessible from there.
>> >
>> >
>> > Congrats, if you made it reading that far. Comments, ideas, mockups,
>> > plans for more data I should provide etc welcome.
>> >
>> > Thanks,
>> >    Simon
>> >
>> >
>> > [1] at the moment only in German:
>> > http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Planetarium
>> > [2]
>> > http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Design_Team/Designs/Activity_Management#6
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Sugar-devel mailing list
>> > Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
>> > http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel
>> >
>> --
>> Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
>> Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
>> The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.
>> http://www.earthtreasury.org/
>> _______________________________________________
>> Sugar-devel mailing list
>> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
>> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel

Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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