[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2011-03-28

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Mar 28 15:50:46 EDT 2011

Sugar Digest

1. I have been on the road again. The good thing about travelling is
that I get a lot of code written. The bad news is that I am not
getting enough sleep. Last week, I was in Oslo for the GoOpen
conference [http://www.goopen.no/english/]. GoOpen is an annual event
in which the city of Oslo celebrates Free Software. I flew overnight
from Boston on Monday. Tuesday evening, I was on a really fun panel
with Simon Phipps, Allison Randal, Erik Möller, Knut Yrvin and Jonas
Öberg. Johannes Brodwall was the moderator of a two-hour-long banter
about the culture of Free Software. Before catching some Zs, I had a
chance to upgrade the software on Håkon Lie's XO. I gave a keynote the
next morning and then headed to the airport in order to get to POSSCON
in Columbia South Carolina [http://posscon.org/]. I didn't get to the
hotel in Columbia until 1AM Thursday morning, which was conveniently
located right across the street from convention center. I was a bit
confused—a combination of the late hour and lack of sleep—as there was
an electronic billboard advertising the Pest Control convention.
POSSCON/Pest Control? Am I in the right city? I did find the
conference the next morning, where I met up with a number of old
friends there, including Mel Chua, David Nalley, Leslie Hawthorn, and
David Trask.

At GoOpen,  I met Håkon Eriksen from the GNU Free Call project. He and
his colleagues are developing a smart phone environment that draws
heavily upon the Sugar desktop and collaboration metaphors. The
developers are looking at making a GUI-demo available shortly using
the FDroid app-repository at http://f-droid.org/.

Simon Phipps is part of a group of former Sun employees that are
supporting a number of projects that were abandoned by Oracle after
their acquisition of Sun. One of their projects, OpenAM, looks
promising for filling a need we have in Sugar: it provides a
centralized authentication service for single sign-on that can be
federated. This could be used for supporting activity upload sites
that could be accessed at schools, deployment-wide, and globally, with
different authorities at each level. I am more and more convinced that
having a facility for sharing projects is critical to our pedagogical
mission and to our growth. OpenAM may be a candidate project for
helping us implement such a facility.

I spoke with David Nalley about the 4th Grade Math project
[http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Math4Team]. It struck us that while
there has been a lot of work done on the project, its impact has not
been felt very broadly yet. One concrete idea that came from our
discussion was to create a "collection" on the Activity Library to
bring all the math-related activities into one place. Would everyone
who is working on 4th Grade Math please send me info about your
activity so that I can include it in the math collection

I turned David Trask onto Turtle Blocks. While he continues in his
efforts to get Sugar integrated into the Maine laptop program, he will
be able to add Turtle Blocks to their builds right away, thus giving
the teachers and students a taste of Sugar.

2. Next week there will be a meeting in Cambridge organized by Claudia
Urrea of the pedagogical leads from many of the OLPC deployments to
discuss evaluation. While "Not everything that counts can be counted
and not everything that can be counted counts"–Albert Einstein–there
is an important place for reflection and feedback within learning.
This meeting will give us an opportunity to share current practices
and broaden our mutual perspectives on assessment.

In the community

3. Sdenka Salas reports that April 12–16, 2011, there will be a second
SugarCamp in Puno. They have set the goal of finishing the translation
of Sugar interface into Aymara and Quechua. The event is cosponsored
by the Regional Directorate of Education in Puno and Escuelab.

Help wanted

4. Florent Pigout reported on the Sugar Devel list that OLPC-France is
working on a new activity named 'AToiDeJouer' ('YourTurnToPlay'). The
project is in its early stage, but a screencast is available
Children will open the activity with an existing story and remix it
with their own artwork and music. The source code for the activity is
available in git [http://git.sugarlabs.org/atoidejouer]. Patches

5. We have some traction regarding the Tour of Uruguay event next
month, but more help would be appreciated. Please contact me if you
can lend a hand.

Tech Talk

6. We continue to make progress on Turtle Blocks Version 107, which
has plug-in support. I've gotten great feedback from the WeGo, NXT,
and Arduino teams and it seems that the framework is sufficiently
robust to satisfy that diversity of needs. At POSSCON, I spent some
time with a group that makes a 3-D printer. I may crank out a plugin
to support that peripheral from Turtle Blocks as well. Stay tuned.

7. I've also continued working on a new Learn-to-Read activity. I hope
to have a prototype for testing available within a week.

8. Gary Martin has been holding weekly design meetings at which we
have been making steady progress addressing the variety of open issues
with the Sugar UI. This past week we discussed the UI changes that
Gonzalo Odiard has proposed to the Record activity. Of note is the
progress towards integrating "write-to-Journal-any-time"
functionality, which is available for any activity.

Sugar Labs

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

2011 Mar 19th–25th (25 emails)
2011 Mar 12th–18th (32 emails)

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


Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

More information about the IAEP mailing list