[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2010-06-10

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Thu Jun 10 13:34:24 EDT 2010

==Sugar Digest==

1. In their humorous treatise on political double-speak, ''Aristotle
and an Aardvark go to Washington'', Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
define 'contextomy' as "a subtle variation on the straw-man argument"
where you ''yank'' your victim's words out of context. A straw-man
argument attributes an opponent to a position that in fact they do not
hold. Contextomy adds the twist that you de-contextualize a quote in
order to misstate (or overstate) their position.

An example of contextomy is Mark Warschauer's post,  ''OLPC: How Not
to Run a Laptop Program''
The premise of Warschauer's article is that the 'OLPC model' is
"simply passing out XOs and getting out of children’s way." No
planning, no training, no teacher engagement... He goes on to say that
this is an ill-advised model that does not work. In the article itself
Warchauer never cites evidence that this is in fact the 'OLPC model',
but in a comment he refers the reader to the OLPC mission statement as
justification for his straw-man argument. Contextomy.

I am not aware of any OLPC (or Sugar) deployment that in any way
resembles Warshauer's straw man, in the United States or elsewhere.
(The largest deployment in the United States is the city-wide
deployment in Birmingham Alabama, which has involved extensive
engagement of teachers, parents, the local university, libraries,
churches, and other community assets. As with most deployments, there
is extensive [http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=116638
observation and longitudinal data] are beginning to become available.)
Frankly, it is irresponsible for Warshauer to ignore these data. If he
has any actual data to back up his position, he fails to cite it.

Meanwhile, in this week's IRC discussion with teachers running Sugar
projects, some evidence surfaced that contradicts Warshchauer's
argument. (Apologies for my poor translation of the Spanish-language

:C: It is best to hear directly from the actors themselves ...
:C: What can different group members tell us about their approaches to
the training of teachers ...
:F: In Nicaragua selected schools participate in the program, then
teachers are invited to general training workshops three or two days.
After that process initiated the visits and support in schools.
:C: I can share one important element in what I do personally is to
make sure that teachers can experience tools in the same way I expect
them to do with the children ...
:M: In Paraguay at this moment we are training teachers in seventh
grade and we are developing a total of 150 hours where we develop
educational issues. Principally develop their curricula in various
:C: We can not expect teachers to teach in a "Constructionist", which
taught for instructions ...
:J: The workshop of the last two days had a lot of participation
active teachers, and they built their own learning projects
:S: J. took that approach.
:J: [The teachers] said in their evaluation that what they liked most
was the process
:J: To share and create something with the other
:I: It was very fruitful because the projects were assembled collaboratively
:J: It is good to see that people value this opportunity, whether they
are aware of their base "constructionist" or not
:C: Another important element ... we do not want to sell the idea that
after a workshop (2, 3 or up to 5 days) we will teach ALL ... the best
way to learn is by doing and using XO Activities ...
:M: The constructionist approach to ours is the challenge is that
teachers so they understand
:C: M, do you mean by that develop curricula of the various activities?
:I: There is no construction without collaboration
:I: Going from theory to practice and vice versa
:M: to touch directly the issues that develop in the classroom
:F: In our workshops we work in groups or tables work, we try to have
a facilitator at each table. to Teachers are provided guidelines we
have developed learning here at the Foundation.
:C: According ... construction in collaboration .. I like that!
:M: for those who can not be present, there information on a web site
or examples of projects?
:C: Thanks Mary ... perfect!
:C: F. ... and there is a space for teachers develop their own guidelines?
:I: They are rich in sharing desks, and guides such as built?
:S: It is simple to really understand the idea let children explore,
that each child has their skills and why the proposal should be
diversified classroom, for example. The Teachers are great
instructions. Yesterday there were many corrections at this point.
:I: it is interesting that teachers construct their own guides ...
:F: Right. At some point the workshop alongside teachers of each level
and each plan their own activities
:I: Interesting ...
:S: In Colombia we have four objectives with the Qualifications [of
deployments]: 1. Create local capacity to respond to administrative,
technical and related educational implementation; 2. Explore routes
that allow the introduction XO's success as a teaching resource; 3.
Promote culture constructionist as an innovative learning models; 4.

[this thread continues for an hour]

Granted, there were some legitimate and useful criticism of OLPC in
the comments to Warschauer's article, but the article itself was
unhelpful doublespeak.

2. Carolyn Meeks and I submitted the final report for the Gardner
Pilot Academy Sugar-on-a-Stick pilot.

===In the community===

3. It is not too late to participate in the Sugar World Cup 2010
beginning 11 June.

4. Logs of the Spanish-language weekly IRC meetings of teachers
working with Sugar are archived at

===Tech talk===

5. 0.88.1 landed... thanks Simon, Tomeu, and all those who reported
bugs and submitted patches: Aleksey, Korakurider, Aleksey Lim, Bernie
Innocenti, Benjamin Berg, et al.

6. Chris Ball reports that "I got Sugar running on the ARM SoC we'll
be using for XO-1.75 and XO-3, and it didn't require any porting at
all." There has been some discussions about enhancements to Sugar to
better accommodate touch and multi-touch. Join the discussion.

7. There has also been a discussion of potential features for 0.90.
See the devel list archives.

===Sugar Labs===

Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion on
the IAEP mailing list.

See http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2010-May-29-June-4-som.jpg (62 emails)

Visit [http://planet.sugarlabs.org] for more updates about Sugar and
Sugar deployments.

Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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