[sugar] re Journal Requirements and preparing kids (was something else)

Greg Smith gregsmitholpc
Thu Oct 9 10:00:43 EDT 2008

Hi Tomeu,

Thanks for asking. The product manager role is only meaningful if 
developers and users feel they benefit from it :-)

A note on my perspective. So far I have been able to focus exclusively 
on XO + Sugar Software. I don't think much about other OSes on XO (e.g. 
Fedora or Windows) or Sugar/XO software on on other HW or OSes. Its all 
8.2, 9.1 etc for me, so far.

Two points:
1 - On your question of preparing kids for using computers, that has 
come up. It's usually in the context of the need for Windows. That is, 
many decision makers seem to think that learning to use Windows is an 
important skill to prepare people for jobs which use computers.

We can try to dissuade them by pointing to Linux as the future or 
explaining that understanding computers is the central idea and 
transferable to any OS (no matter how abstracted the processes and file 
system :-). The main idea that the purpose of XOs is to teach kids about 
computers is something I think many on this list ascribe to. Others 
(e.g. me) look at XOs as more of a tool to learn whatever the kids want 
to learn, be it computers or animal husbandry or theology or whatever. 
Most people probably want to see some of both.

FYI for earlier comment on this, see Design section of this page: 
and my comment on it: 

I'll give one example. I heard of a small country where a trial 
deployment was to be funded by a large corporation. The company uses 
Windows and .Net. One of their goals was to find and train the bright 
kids who would become their future programmers so they were interested 
in Windows. They have other more altruistic goals too so everyone can 
benefit, but it gives you a sense of how this goal of "learning 
computers" is motivated.

2 - On the Journal design. I think we are closing in on a rough 
consensus for goals of an updated Journal. The last piece will be the 
hardest but let me see if we have agreement on the first two points.

a - Journal/datastore must not lose data due to bugs or errors. If the 
user meant to "save", or some part of the OS meant to "save" the data 
must be saved! I think/hope everyone is on board with that one.

b - We should allow access to the file system directly. This is the 
point most adamantly express by John Gilmore (btw there was a round of 
applause by some engineers in the office on reading that one morning 
:-). That is, the Journal should show the full path and file name to 
every file. Should probably show the size and maybe other file 
attributes too. The file names should be human readable and accessible 
easily by applications and by terminal commands. It doesn't have to be 
the only way to see files in the GUI but it has to be easily available. 
That is the main way we address the question: "will kids learn to use 
computers by having an XO?" Not sure we have consensus on that but I 
think we are close.

c - We should allow access to files via other paradigms, tags, search 
tools etc. This is where I think we have the most work to do. I look 
forward to Scott's proposal and more discussion. I said previously that 
I hadn't heard the need for this from the field. Elana and Erik have 
given solid, end user motivated feedback that ~"its hard to find stuff 
in the Journal" so I'm completely on board now.

Making that better is where I think we can add the most value. Any DOS 
machine in the last 25 years can do the first two. IMHO point c is where 
we can break new ground and lead the industry. Especially if we come up 
with something that really resonates and works for kids and teachers.


Let's nail down point a and b above as must have, baseline functionality 
for 9.1. Then let's kick around as many ideas for point c as we can 
until we find a clear winner.


Greg S

Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 11:16:14 +0200
From: "Tomeu Vizoso" <tomeu at tomeuvizoso.net>
Subject: [sugar] sugar and the digital age (was Re: notes from the
	field -	Mongolia)
To: "elana langer" <elana.langer at gmail.com>
Cc: iaep <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>, OLPC Devel
	<devel at lists.laptop.org>,	Sugar Mailing List <sugar at lists.laptop.org>
	<242851610810090216qcd8d254la93ea9c68eb9d6f8 at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Hi Elana,

On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 9:48 PM, elana langer <elana.langer at gmail.com> wrote:
 > >
 > > d) Although I think building a tagging tool around kids natural ways
 > > of thinking is really exciting, most teachers/schools/gov'ts are
 > > really concerned that this OS isn't preparing kids for the digital age
 > > properly. Most people feel it is important the computer meet some
 > > simple expectations that are common and understandable practices on
 > > any OS - like having files that can be saved and accessed in a simple
 > > place for example.

could you elaborate on what means for teachers/schools/govts to
prepare kids for the digital age? It may be that we are not giving
enough importance to that requirement (?).

[All: this topic is very broad and maybe controversial, please try to
keep the threads focused and spawn new ones when needed]

Greg, as OLPC's product manager, are we missing anything on that aspect?



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