[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2011-02-04

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Fri Feb 4 14:58:07 EST 2011

On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 11:50 AM, Carlos Rabassa <carnen at mac.com> wrote:
> Walter,
> 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.

I think most of the bits and pieces for using Sugar in a virtual
machine [1] on Windows or a Mac are in place, just not well tested or
well documented. Perhaps you could work with satellit (Tom Gilliard)
on the latter??? It would be great.

> 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.
> http://www.inda.gub.uy/
> 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.

Sounds like a nice cultural fit. Perhaps join the Wednesday learning
chat to discuss how this has been done in Paraguay.



> Sincerely,
> Carlos Rabassa
> Volunteer
> 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
> _______________________________________________
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Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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