[IAEP] Note-taking

Tony Anderson tony_anderson at usa.net
Mon Feb 23 01:29:21 EST 2015

Hi Sora,

There needs to be a database of XO users (both students and staff). The 
staff can then have 'teacher' priviliges. The system will also know what 
grade the student is in and so what course material is relevant.

My plan is that where XO's are shared, that each user should go to the 
'About Me' and change the nick to their username. The advantage is that 
no extra programming is required and the system will be restarted 
(terminating activities started by a previous user as well as 
registering the new nick).

Naturally, where there is a single user, the username and the user nick 
would be the same.

Essentially what is happening is that the activity stores a session 
record showing when an activity was started, stopped, and what outcome 
was recorded (simplest, it was run). The session records are captured on 
the school server and displayed to the teacher. The model for this is 
the coach report in Khan Academy Lite.

A credible representation of what is available on the school server is 
now available at http:www.projectbernie.org.

I would recommend the English Children's Literature collection from OLE 
Nepal's Pustakalaya and the
'stories' in the English Learning for Kids from the British Council 
(example of audio with text). The school server also has a collection of 
40 more stories not on the web site.

Synchronizing the audio with text is difficult. There is a capability 
called SMIL (smile) which has this capability but I have not had time 
enough to get it working. My thought was to have reading work similar to 

Incidentally, the Talk English component on the school server also 
provides a wide range of simple English text associated with audio clips.


On 02/23/2015 01:19 PM, Sora Edwards-Thro wrote:
> Thanks, Tony and James. Replies to both your messages below:
> On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 8:42 PM, James Simmons <nicestep at gmail.com 
> <mailto:nicestep at gmail.com>> wrote
>     The goodreads website https://www.goodreads.com
>     <https://www.goodreads.com/> might be useful.
> Yes, and features like getting recommendations about what to read 
> based on what you've already liked and being able to add books to a 
> "want to read" list would be great. I especially like the "want to 
> read" list because it implies it gives you a way to identify something 
> as interesting and then move on instead of feeling obligated to dive 
> right into it. Of course, the experience of downloading a text to your 
> computer's journal to read later might replicate that.
>     I wrote a free book the might be of some use to you:
>     https://archive.org/details/EBookEnlightenment
>  Thanks for passing this on! I ended up reading through the whole 
> thing because everything inside is relevant to this project (even the 
> parts on scanning in paper books).
> A few questions:
> You mention that the text-to-speech works for plain text and ePubs; 
> does that mean it doesn't work for PDFs? I would test this on my 
> personal XO, but I'm waiting for my charger to arrive in the mail...
> On another note, at one point you mention that in the Read Etexts 
> activity "highlighting may lag behind the words being spoken." Does 
> this activity actually highlight the words as the computer is reading 
> them? Using the text-to-speech function built into the Frame of later 
> versions of Sugar, I haven't seen it do that.
> On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 9:03 PM, Tony Anderson <tony_anderson at usa.net 
> <mailto:tony_anderson at usa.net>> wrote:
>     Hi, Sora
>     The idea would be that a comments on a book (accession) would be
>     linked from the accession record.
>     There is also a Django app (kls), which provides a record for each
>     XO user (student or staff) and a record for each XO (inventory).
>     The comments made by a user would be linked also to the user. In
>     this way it would be easy to look at all comments and rankings by
>     a user or to look at all comments and rankings for a given item in
>     the library.
> Sounds great. It's good to hear that accessions can be linked to one 
> another; that also got me thinking about how we can accommodate books 
> accompanied with audio on the server. Currently, when students want to 
> listen to audio for a book, they have to start the audio in a separate 
> window and then flip back to the book to read along. It isn't too much 
> of a hassle, but it would be nice if it was easier.
> Would you provide a log-on for each user? With our particular course 
> we'll be enrolling only 20 students in each class, so everyone will 
> have access to their own XO and will use the same computer each day. 
> We figured that means we can skip a log-in step and just identify 
> teachers and students by the computer they're using to access the 
> server. I know other deployments are using the same set of XOs for the 
> whole school, so they might need a log-in; we're just hoping to have 
> one less page for students / teachers to click through before class 
> can start.
>     Like most of my projects, this one is 90% complete. The comment
>     link is needed. I plan the comments/rankings to look like those in
>     Pustakalaya (www.pustakalaya.org <http://www.pustakalaya.org>).
>     Unfortunately, that app currently only works in the internet
>     version. I also have not added the 'url' links capability to add
>     other items. Look at Rachel as an example of how the Gutenberg
>     collection could be organized into collections for greater
>     accessibility (by the way, this sort of direct link is far less
>     demanding on the server than the current search method).
> I'm glad someone's thinking of how to structure large amounts of 
> resources in the future. That's not exactly our situation, since we're 
> only dealing with 300 - 500 books in an extracurricular program that 
> doesn't have to tie things to curriculum. Sorting of some sort will be 
> important, but I guess my own priority at the moment is giving 
> teachers and students the tools to share great reading materials with 
> each other. Thanks for giving some advantages of the direct-link 
> system so that even a non-techie like me can understand why it might 
> be useful ( ;
>     Tony
>     On 02/22/2015 09:42 AM, James Simmons wrote:
>>     Sora,
>>     The goodreads website https://www.goodreads.com might be useful.
>>     You can do rankings of books, reviews, have threaded discussions,
>>     post favorite quotes, interact with G+ and Facebook, and other
>>     things that the words "reading socially" would suggest.
>>     I wrote a free book the might be of some use to you:
>>     https://archive.org/details/EBookEnlightenment
>>     It is also available on the web. Here is the chapter on the
>>     Pathagar book server, which might be of interest:
>>     http://en.flossmanuals.net/e-book-enlightenment/the-pathagar-book-server/
>>     James Simmons
>>     On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 4:45 PM, Sora Edwards-Thro
>>     <sora at unleashkids.org <mailto:sora at unleashkids.org>> wrote:
>>         Thanks for the additional input, everyone. James, Gonzalo,
>>         Tony, some responses below:
>>         On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 4:14 PM, James Simmons
>>         <nicestep at gmail.com <mailto:nicestep at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>             The catch is it only works with plain text files.
>>         Yes, my original thought was we could convert PDF to
>>         plain-text files and just use the Write activity to do
>>         highlights and such. But, some of the content we're working
>>         with is not OER (that's what happens when you need
>>         high-quality books in a specific language), and I'm not sure
>>         if they'll be okay with us manipulating the files like that.
>>         We've got to choose how many battles to fight with them.
>>         Thanks for passing this tool on - looks like it's better
>>         suited than the Write activity for reading.
>>             On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 2:51 PM, Gonzalo Odiard
>>             <godiard at sugarlabs.org <mailto:godiard at sugarlabs.org>> wrote:
>>                 I am available to work (on contract) in these
>>                 features if you are interested.
>>         Thank you for the offer, Gonzalo. Fortunately, we do have
>>         some money raised to pay programmers. Right now I'm just
>>         trying to identify which tasks to ask people to tackle. Bear
>>         in mind that this is my first experience with software
>>         development; thanks for being patient,everyone, as we try to
>>         figure out what is and isn't doable, and what is and isn't
>>         worth doing.
>>         On Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 7:52 PM, Tony Anderson
>>         <tony_anderson at usa.net <mailto:tony_anderson at usa.net>> wrote:
>>             Also on the list is a 'comments' capability so that
>>             learners can make comments and give rankings for the
>>             books they read from the school server library and which
>>             would be linked to the book entry on the school server.
>>         Do you currently have a system in place for organizing books
>>         on the schoolserver? I know on the Haiti IIAB release we have
>>         a searchable copy of Project Gutenberg; I don't know how easy
>>         it is to add entries to that. In the past, we just added
>>         books by creating another link that goes to a page with a
>>         list of the PDF files available. But since we're looking at
>>         adding at least 300 more books, plus whatever the texts the
>>         students are able to write, so searching  by title would be
>>         nice / necessary. We're also looking for sorting by level and
>>         topic. Finally, the ability to comment and give rankings is
>>         essential if you want students to start reading socially. If
>>         you've made / plan to make any headway on the above, I'd love
>>         to hear more about it. Thanks.

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