[IAEP] Dumb Questions... Input Wanted... Please Discuss!

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Wed Oct 27 18:26:49 EDT 2010

On Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 16:04, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Hi All...
> Here are some "dumb questions" for you. In a couple of weeks I will be doing
> a 2-hr hands-on workshop (at the CUELA Tech Fair) about OLPC, Sugar, and
> open source software teachers may want to try with their classes using the
> computers they already have at their schools. I would like to give them a CD
> or DVD with the files they would need to make their own USB sticks. I will
> also be showing them the online sites for Etoys and Scratch.
> I was thinking of including at least one version of SoaS, a copy of Virtual
> Box for Mac users, Live usb creator for SoaS (with text files telling how to
> use them), and Etoys-to-go.
> Please jump in with comments and suggestions for these questions. Please put
> your response under the question it applies to, for ease in reading and feel
> free to add to and comment on others responses:
> Is there anything else I have missed that should be included?

    * Are you new to Sugar? [MS Windows] [GNU/Linux] [Apple Mac OS X]
[advanced users]
    * Do you have an OLPC XO?
    * Do you use GNU/Linux?
    * Do you use a Virtual Machine?
    * Are you a developer?
    * Are you preparing a deployment without Internet access?
    * Are you looking for Sugar Activities?

Community/Distributions/Sugar on a Stick

> Can they create the usb sticks from the files on disk?


> Can I include a live CD image on the same disk?

On a DVD there is plenty of room.

> Could the same disk serve as a live CD and hold the other files?

A Live CD or DVD can have whatever you like in its file system.

> I  made a "live" SoaS once with the Fedora Live usb creator on a friend's
> PC. It works on my eeePC.
> How do you make the Etoys-to-go usb from a file on a disk? Does it need the
> Live usb Creator?

All versions should run on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Get
Etoys-version-ToGo.zip from:


Download and unpack onto a USB drive (or a folder on your hard disk
for testing). Then double-click "Etoys-To-Go" on a Mac, "Etoys.exe" on
Windows, or "etoys.sh" on Linux.

> Can it be done on a Mac?

Instructions above.

> Will it work if they just copy the file onto a usb?

No. You have to run an installer to make the USB stick bootable.

> What version of SoaS is really the most stable? (I know I will get different
> opinions here... but I would like your input).

I'm using Mirabelle and haven't run into problems. I haven't done
enough testing to give a really helpful opinion.

> We will have the XO-1s from the CUELA XO library (I hope) and a mix of XO-1s
> and XO-1.5s from my "Roadshow In a Box" for the hands-on lab. Teachers will
> be invited to use their own laptops if they like, but the purpose of the
> hands-on part is to introduce the Activities.
> Has anyone done an introductory workshop like this for classroom teachers?
> If so, which Activities worked the best in the workshop?

That depends strongly on the interests of the teachers. I have done a
presentation on how to introduce programming to students. I could
easily put one together on how to teach math or science, or history or
geography, or phys. ed. (Film and watch yourself, keep stats...).

What are the concerns of the teachers?

Which age groups and subjects are they concerned with?

Will this help them to teach better?

Will this help them to get around the obstacles to teaching?

What kind of training do they need?

What materials are available for them to teach from?

Do they have to create all of the computer lesson plans themselves?

XOs cost less than printed textbooks. How will that affect
procurement, administration, the classroom...? Can we really improve
teaching while saving significant amounts of money?

How do children react? How do parents react? School boards? Posturing
politicians? Ignorant pundits?

How can I get involved? How can I get my teachers' organization involved?

> Did you use 1 to 1 or 2 to 1 (or more if there are too many people) so they
> can help each other?

If attendees won't bring their own laptops, try to get permission to
use an existing computer lab. Deal with the administrative questions
about running SOAS on their machines well ahead of time.

> If you haven't done such a workshop, which Activities do you think I should
> consider including?

If you have teachers interested in a particular subject, you can slant
your presentation that way.

If you have XOs, I recommend starting with Record, which we find
compelling to two-year-olds.

Then Turtle Art running the Flower demo. You can show them how it
breaks down into drawing a single square, then ten squares at 36
degree angles, then sets of squares in increasing sizes and different
colors. I talk about teaching programming in third grade or earlier,
and moving on from Turtle Art to Python through the programmable
tiles. Then give them a taste of Etoys/Squeak/Smalltalk.

Then your choice of Write or Paint shared among the group,
demonstrating multiple active cursors or brushes. Talk about
collaborative homework over mesh networking, and the social changes
seen as a result in some communities.

I also like to demonstrate Measure, where people can talk or sing into
the microphone and see either the waveform or the frequency analysis.
You can talk about its applications to science teaching.

The library functions of Browse and the book reader function with the
screen turned around and laid flat are also of general interest.

This is more than enough for a first session.

Another approach is Alan Kay's method of teaching ten-year-old
children Galilean gravity. After preparing them with various Turtle
graphics simulations, including one of constant acceleration, he gets
them to video a ball dropped from the roof of the school. Then he
shows them how to take frames from the video at equal time intervals
and overlay them. Then he asks whether they recognize the pattern that
they see, and what that means. There is much more to this, but it
demonstrates how an XO with Sugar enables deeper teaching at younger
ages than book learning.

> There will also be a 1 hr presentation where I will talk about OLPC,
> SugarLabs, volunteering, the Contributors Program, and sales.  Is there
> anything else I should mention?

Creative Commons ccLearn
Stacy, the Librarian Chick
Earth Treasury
FLOSS Manuals

All are concerned with replacing printed textbooks using content and
software under Free licenses. There are many more.

> Thanks in advance for your comments!  When I get this all figured out,
> prepared, and presented, I'll post it as a resource for anyone else who
> would like to use it.
> Caryl
> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
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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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