[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2011-11-19

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Sat Nov 19 14:04:56 EST 2011

== Sugar Digest ==

1. The Learning Team held a discussion about the Portfolio activity
this week, which prompted me to make some enhancements. One request
was the ability to export your portfolio to a PDF file. It turns out
that Cairo supports a PDF surface, making it really easy to export
PDF. So one nice by product of moving Sugar activities to Cairo
graphics -- which is a necessary step in our migration to GTK3 -- is
that it will be much easier to enable activities to export files to
the Journal for printing. The other feature I added was the ability to
make voice annotations on each page in your portfolio. These voice
notes are played back when the portfolio is viewed. They are also
saved went the contents are exported to HTML. Alas, PDF does not
support audio, as far as I know. Please try Portfolio [1] and give me
feedback as to how I can improve it.

2. Monday is the deadline for new feature proposals for Sugar 0.96.
There are a number of proposals that have already been submitted (See
[2]). Gonzalo Godiard and I have aggregated a number of proposals
concerning the Journal in a collector page [3]. These proposed
features are a result of the past month of discussion with the
Learning Team. Additional feedback on these and all of the new-feature
proposal is most welcome. Please add to the discussion on the "Talk"
page of each individual proposal.

3. I mentioned last week that I wrote a plugin for Turtle Blocks that
adds a palette for creating models for the Physics activity. (Physics
uses a 2D engine called Box2D [4].) I've made a few additions this
week, including a block that creates a gear. Building a simple machine
should be a bit easier than trying to use the tools exposed by
Physics. Of course, there are limits to what one can do with a simple.
Working directly with sensors may be a more productive approach. But I
have to say, it is really fun to create Box2D models in Turtle Blocks.
(See [5] for more details on how to load the plugin and run it.)

It is difficult to strike a balance between giving the student a tool
and giving the student the skills to make tools. I've wrestled with
this quite a bit in Turtle Art over the years. Lately, I am leaning
more towards exposing more functionality in the form of predefined
blocks than asking that these blocks be built by the user. For
example, I recently added blocks for getting mouse x,y coordinates,
whereas before, I shipped Python code that could be loaded by the user
to accomplish the same thing. Of course, View Source is still
available. But where to draw the line is not obvious, at least to me.

4. Cherry Withers pointed out Mr Steve's Exploratorium Blog earlier
this week, but I thought it merited mentioning it again (See [6]).

=== Sugar Labs ===

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

2011 Nov 5th - Nov 11 (80 emails) [7]

Visit our planet [8] for more updates about Sugar and Sugar deployments.

[1] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Activities/Portfolio
[2] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Features
[3] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Features/Journal_features_for_0.96
[4] [http://box2d.org/
[5] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Activities/TurtleArt#Plugins
[6] http://mrstevesscience.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html
[7] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2011-Nov-5-11.jpg
[8] http://planet.sugarlabs.org


Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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