[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2011-02-04

Carlos Rabassa carnen at mac.com
Fri Feb 4 11:50:08 EST 2011


This section of your message caught my attention:

> ... (Indeed, a recent marketing survey conducted by a
> team of Sloan students suggested that while 90% of those surveyed
> recommend Sugar to others, only 33% of those who then try to download
> Sugar are successful.) ...

Recently I have read several messages about idea banks and about new projects to tackle.

If I may make one more suggestion,  let me tell you what I would like to see.

It would be a book entitled

Sugar for Dummies

I promise to be the first one in line the day it starts selling;  I clearly feel I need it.

And now after the figures you just mentioned,  I believe a market study for such a book is not necessary.

There seem to be a lot of other dummies like me.

The book I dream of would have two sections.

One for Windows users and one for Mac users.

Each section would describe in plain everyday English a step by step installation procedure.

It would be the procedure to install whatever is necessary to run the XO applications in a non-XO computer like the ones many adults like me have and use.

The explanations should be thoroughly tested,  prior to publication,  to make sure they do work,  

I volunteer to be a beta tester for the Mac version.

They should be reviewed for language,  like lawyers do with contracts,  making sure that any word that is not in the everyday plain English vocabulary,  is properly defined before using it.

A final suggestion is that it be published in Google Docs or as a pdf file attached to emails,  no wikis please.

Wikis are not yet in the realm of everyday English.

Would this be possible or is this an impossible dream?

Please help me and help others by remembering I said I am a Sugar Dummy.

I do not understand complex explanations or shop talk.

Something like this publication would multiply tremendously the number of capable,  useful,  volunteers that could help in many projects.

First project where someone like me could help,  is very close to another one of your comments;

You said:

> ... there is an opportunity for using Sugar in an informal setting
> as well, where, unconstrained by the "official" curriculum, the
> learner has more of an opportunity to dig more deeply into areas of
> personal interest.

I am thinking of something we have in Uruguay,  the "merenderos".

Literal translation of merendero would be "place where mid afternoon snack is served". 

School children go to these places after school and spend time there.

It would be nice if someone with knowledge about them could explain how they work.

We have the honor of personally knowing for many years a powerful driving force behind this institution of the merenderos.

Almost half a century ago,  we were married by Fr. Uberfil Monzón,  the priest who,  as head of INDA,  Instituto Nacional de Alimentación,  promoted the merenderos.


INDA has been assuring for a long time that school children are properly fed.

Fr. Monzón with the merenderos brought home the idea that it is not only a question of giving children food for the body.

Children go to the merenderos after school.

They not only find adequate food but also can play,  practice sports,  socialize with other children.

They receive visits by role models such as soccer stars with whom they can talk face to face.

It seems to be the ideal set up for what you so well describe of children using Sugar in an informal environment.


Carlos Rabassa
Plan Ceibal Support Network
Montevideo, Uruguay

On Feb 4, 2011, at 6:13 PM, Walter Bender wrote:

> ===Sugar Digest===
> 1. While shovelling snow I have been reflecting on Sugar – a lot of
> snow, hence a lot of reflecting. Looking back, I came across a quote
> [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7094695.stm] from 2007: "change
> equals risk". At the time, I was speaking out against incremental
> change to a global educational system that was failing to meet the
> needs of our children. The ''status quo'' was failing – and is still
> failing – and we embarked upon a path to do something about it. We
> developed a deployable model of one-to-one computing enabling us to
> advocate for a pedagogy of constructionist learning
> [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki Constructionism_%28learning_theory%29],
> where "learning can happen most effectively when people are also
> active in making tangible objects in the real world."
> Over the course of four years, we've put Sugar into the hands of
> almost two-million children. Our goal has been to give them a
> "learning platform" – one that encourages them to be expressive with
> knowledge, to collaborate, and to reflect.
> While we have had impact in the formal setting of the classroom, with
> Sugar, there is an opportunity for using Sugar in an informal setting
> as well, where, unconstrained by the "official" curriculum, the
> learner has more of an opportunity to dig more deeply into areas of
> personal interest. In Caacupé, for example, there has been extensive
> use of Saturday learning clubs. In Rwanda, informal time for the
> computer is being allocated at the end of the school day.
> We have not been advocating anything goes; nor have we been anti
> teacher. Rather, we have been encouraging "guided discovery", where
> the teacher has an active role in steering the learners towards
> "powerful ideas" and engaging the learners in reflection and a
> critical dialogue about their work. Sugar facilitates this dialogue by
> providing tools, e.g., the Journal, in support of reflection.
> Our interventions are guided with a goal in mind – the empowerment of
> individual competitive and cooperative opportunity
> [http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2006/06/allocation-vs-markets-ancient
> struggle.html].
> :"It would take wit, insight and incredible perspective for many of
> them to pull back and admit: "Wait... I am prescribing the very thing
> I should hate. What I really ought to want are genuinely liberal
> markets, in which the state ensures that all players get to know and
> negotiate and play the great creative game from a level playing field.
> Yes, that will mean some "allocating" to raise up poor children to be
> ABLE to compete well. And yes we must allocate to take into account
> the needs of generations yet to come. But the thing I am devoted to is
> not allocation, ''per se''! The thing I am dedicated to is giving all
> people (including those yet to come) a fair chance to play." —David
> Brin
> A theme I have taken up repeatedly since we started Sugar Labs is
> sustainability. We have not been interested in resilience in the usual
> sense of trying to sustain the ''status quo''. Rather, we are trying
> to give children the capacity to grow and adapt so that they can
> thrive in a changing and challenging world.
> Looking forward in 2011, we have any number of technical challenges:
> Python introspection, GNOME 3.0, etc. in order to advance the utility,
> stability, and maintainability of our product. A recent GNOME camp
> attended by Simon Schampijer and Tomeu Vizoso suggest that these are
> achievable goals. We have some refactoring to do in order to better
> support accessibility. Lots of minor patches in service of deployments
> are being submitted by the Dextrose team (a combined effort of some of
> our deployments, community members, and Activity Central employees. We
> have several efforts to revitalize the Sugar-on-a-Stick and Virtual
> Sugar projects, as accessibility to Sugar remains our biggest
> technical challenge. (Indeed, a recent marketing survey conducted by a
> team of Sloan students suggested that while 90% of those surveyed
> recommend Sugar to others, only 33% of those who then try to download
> Sugar are successful.)
> Meanwhile, we continue to debate core issues regarding Sugar as it
> relates not just to usability, but also to how Sugar impacts learning.
> Towards that goal, we face social and organizational challenges:
> working with deployments; working with teachers; working with end
> users. Claudia Urea's weekly learning chat has been a model that I
> hope we can scale up in coming months. Pablo Flores is also working on
> various models of community outreach.
> Sugar is as much a service as a product. As a community we have not
> put as much effort into that aspect of our offering. I am hopeful that
> a large portion of our services will be offered by our growing number
> of local labs. But we need to ensure adequate support for those
> efforts.
> 2. A few weeks ago I was at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The
> small, inexpensive, connected device was ubiquitous. We have to think
> about what role these devices may play in learning and if or how Sugar
> (or some derivative of Sugar) will be part of the mix, i.e., are there
> aspects of Sugar that we should be exporting into the context of
> Android? Perhaps the biggest challenge is how to bring the spirit of
> appropriation to these platforms which are first and foremost tools of
> consumption.
> ===Help wanted===
> 3. Chris Leonard is looking for help with translations. "Just about
> every language (besides Spanish) has some strings that need work.
> Please consider volunteering some time and effort to improve the
> localization in your favorite language.  Recruiting new localizers is
> also a very valuable contribution." See
> [http://translate.sugarlabs.org/]
> ===In the community===
> 4. We are in the process of rethinking our wesite design and also the
> collection of tools we use for communicating with the Sugar community.
> Please add your suggestions to possible tools for a new community site
> [http://wiki.sugarlabs.org
> go/Blogs#Possible_tools_for_a_new_community_site].
> 5. The Tour of Uruguay [http://www.federacionciclistauruguaya.com.uy/]
> will be taking place in late March. The Sugar Labs-affiliated cycling
> team [http://www.slipstreamsports.com/] will be one of the  teams
> participating. We should do something with the community involving the
> physics of cycling (e.g., odometer
> [http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Activities/TurtleArt
> Using_Turtle_Art_Sensors#Bicycle_trip_computer]) and maps (e.g., get
> every child to document the part of the race that goes through their
> town or village) and whatever other ideas people have.
> ===Tech Talk===
> 6. I've been tardy in acknowledging the release of os860 from OLPC. It
> is the latest "official" release for the XO-1 and XO-1.5 laptops. The
> release is based on Fedora 11 and contains the latest Sugar 0.84
> (including many backported patches from more recent Sugar releases)
> and the GNOME desktop. See [http://wiki.laptop.org/go
> Release_notes/10.1.3].
> Many thanks to everyone Simon Schampijer, Martin Langhoff, and the
> OLPC Association team, who led a group of testers, translators,
> documenters, developers and others!!
> A few selected highlights (from Simon's release notes):
> * We have significantly improved collaboration when XO-1.5 is used
> with no Access Points available ("under a tree"). The Neighborhood
> View now shows three default ad-hoc networks (for Channels 1, 6, and
> 11) in user-friendly icons, and XOs will auto-connect without user
> intervention. This behavior is similar to the "mesh" behavior on XO-1.
> * You may now share Journal entries with another learner using a USB
> drive or SD card. The user experience is: Martin wants to give a
> picture he has been drawing to Simon. He plugs in his USB drive and
> copies the Journal entry on the drive. Simon plugs in Martin's drive
> in his laptop. The entry will be shown with Martin's XO color on the
> drive. Simon copies Martin's entry into his Journal.
> * We have added support for USB2VGA adapters. You can now connect an
> XO to a projector over a USB2VGA adapter and project what is on your
> XO screen onto a screen or for many people to see.
> * In this build certain activities are protected from being deleted by
> accident. In the activity list in the home view the erase option is
> disabled for those. Protected activities are: Browse, Terminal, Log,
> Write, ImageViewer and Record. Nte that the user can still install
> newer versions of these activities.
> 7. Tom Gilliard (satellit) has been making steady progress on Sugar
> images for use in virtual machines. In particular, he is getting much
> better (more stable and consistent) results on MAC hardware. See
> [http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Emulator_image_files#Other_virtual_machines].
> ===Sugar Labs===
> Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past few weeks of discussion
> on the IAEP mailing list.
> [http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2011-Jan-22-28-som.jpg 2011] (43 emails)
> [http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2011-Jan-15-21-som.jpg] (46 emails)
> [http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2011-Jan-8-14-som.jpg] (21 emails)
> [http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2011-Jan-1-7-som.jpg] (15 emails)
> Visit our planet [http://planet.sugarlabs.org] for more updates about
> Sugar and Sugar deployments.
> -walter
> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep

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