[sugar] [IAEP] Narrative.
Thu Oct 9 10:57:38 EDT 2008
Here's a short dialogue between myself, Ben Schwartz, Martin Dengler,
and Bobby Powers on my interpretation of "narrative" as it might apply
to a user interface designed for "engaging children in the world of
* By "narrative", I mean "a rational sequence (or graph) of events".
* It's rather hard to use XOs to prepare direct lessons. By "direct
lesson", I mean a guided learning experience, usable in variable
network conditions, which minimizes the amount of decision-making and
navigation that the end-user needs to perform in order to experience
'the whole thing' regardless of what software implements each
individual experience contained in the lesson.
=== Toy Problem
Concretely, suppose I invent a new Python trick like the ones at
How might a prepare a slick explanation for an inexperienced user?
* I might write up a web page for my trick, then write a Pippy bundle
showing off the trick in a toy program, then give a pointer to a git
repo containing an instance of the trick in 'production'.
Question: How do I write web pages on an XO?
Question: Do I have to be able to read in order to find and run the
* I might write up a larger Pippy example for my trick in the literate
style. I might also create a puzzle revolving around integrating the
trick into some sample code. I might include links to 'advanced
reading' or more examples in comments in the source code.
Question: Pippy doesn't know anything about hyperlinks. Will my
Question: I must either comment out my puzzle so that the example can
run or I must provide it in a separate bundle. How many
users would figure out how to try both the example and the
* While not obviously applicable to this specific example, two other
common solutions to this sort of problem include the "scripted
transitions between freeform experiences" idea common to wizards and
role-playing games and the 'build a custom but user-editable program'
idea underlying most EToys lessons.
=== Larger Concerns
Since Sugar is strongly concerned with UI unification, it's worth
spending more time thinking about how well each of the solutions to your
favorite toy problem integrates with encompassing narratives of
reflection, criticism, and human collaboration. (None of the solutions
I've proposed above satisfy me in any of these regards.)
In any case, I hope this followup helps explain the motivation and
'line-of-thought' behind my initial email. Please discuss.
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