[sugar] [IAEP] Narrative.

Brian Jordan brian
Thu Oct 9 11:28:08 EDT 2008

On Thu, Oct 9, 2008 at 4:57 PM, Michael Stone <michael at laptop.org> wrote:
> Bill,
> 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
> learning":
>   http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Mstone/Commentaries/Sugar_2

My favorite part was the end:

  bemasc> making content bundles work better sounds very valuable. We certainly
          don't provide nice content creation tools. I heartily agree that this
          is an area in which improvements are worth pursuing.
  m_stone> lovely. now if only you weren't in engaged in pursuit of further
          education... :)
  bemasc> right.

> === Highlights
> * 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
>   http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Mstone/Tricks
> 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
>             Pippy bundle?
> * 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
>             readers?
>   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
>             puzzle?
> * 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.
> Regards,
> Michael
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> Sugar at lists.laptop.org
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So, how about (1) a way of creating content bundles with journal
content created on the XO, and (2) a way of transferring these bundles
and journal items from XO --> XO without having to use a USB key?

Does (2) currently exist (outside of terminal), by the way? Could (1)
and (2) be done as activities?


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