[sugar] [IAEP] Narrative.

Eben Eliason eben.eliason
Thu Oct 9 11:57:12 EDT 2008

On Thu, Oct 9, 2008 at 11:28 AM, Brian Jordan <brian at laptop.org> wrote:
> 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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> 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?

We've always envisioned (1) as an activity (The "Bundle" activity, in
fact), which would serve both as a way of creating and managing
activity and content bundles, as well as provide a generic tool for
inspecting , modifying, or creating various type of archived format
(zip, tar, gz, etc).

Also, please note that Lewis Barnett (CC'd), a professor from the
University of Richmond, has adopted this project and is working on it
as a class initiative.  I had a teleconference with some of his
students several weeks ago to discuss initial details, and I'm excited
about what we can accomplish with them.  I haven't heard from them
since, and I'm not sure if a project has been setup for them yet.
Perhaps you could give us a breif status update, Lewis?  Thanks!

(2) Should be handled like any other object transfer between XOs,
which hasn't been built yet, but is certainly on the list of needed
features.  There is, of course, special consideration to be given to
the passing of activity bundles, a la the former discussions on
implicit sharing, trusted code, etc.

- Eben

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