[Sugar-devel] GSOC: Pippy ideas

Dinko Galetic dinko.galetic at gmail.com
Tue Apr 6 22:25:22 EDT 2010

Hello everyone,

a GSOC candidate here. I got the idea on how I'd like to contribute to your
project a few hours ago so I haven't yet managed to write my proposal
(evaluate my ideas, consider the technical aspects etc.) and publish it on
the Idea Torrent (I'll most likely do that in the next 24 hours) so I would
really like to hear your opinions on my still raw idea to know if it's even

I would like to work on Pippy and do the following:
1) write more examples to at least double the current amount.

2) write an interactive Python tutorial. Learners would be introduced to
Python, given lessons to study, encouraged to try experimenting with the
code, asked questions which would direct them further (either pointed to
their mistakes and the parts of the lesson they should reread, or given the
next lesson) etc. Unless I've missed something (I admit, I wasn't very
thorough yet), Pippy is basically static - learners are given examples with
some comments and an interpreter. This tutorial would facilitate their
learning process. The tutorial would be based on constructivist principles
(I'm studying to become a teacher of CS and have had additional experience
with constructivism, but I'll leave my introduction for the proposal).

3) Instead of preparing a test to check learners' knowledge when they finish
a batch of lessons, I would write an adventure game in which the player
moves towards the goal by solving Python problems. I'll throw some ideas:
the player starts as a level 1 wizard who has just learned a few basic
spells (Python commands). He meets enemies which he must defeat by
demonstrating his knowledge of Python and programming creativity. At first,
he'd have to feed the villagers (just set some "food" variables to a higher
number), then perhaps defeat a few goblins (using loops to inflict damage,
control statements to heal himself...) and finally slay the ancient dragon
by studying his API functions and finding a weakness for which to exploit
he'll have to write a DragonSlayer class. Of course, the game would have to
be text based (at least for now) since anything else would be too much for
one GSOC project.

4) Assist in translating Sugar to Croatian, as it is now only 23% complete.

Now, I know that it's quite improbable to bring all of this to a 'production
quality' standard and that's one of the reasons why I would appreciate
feedback from the group - to know what to focus on and whether these are
appealing ideas for Sugar at the moment. I could write the examples easily,
but I think that the realistic goal for ideas 2) and 3) would be either to
have a high quality tutorial and a basic version of the game, or a good
tutorial and a good game (I don't mean "writing the tutorial poorly", just
not getting quite as far as I could if I were to only focus on that). I
think I'd personally prefer to go with the latter idea because your software
is for children up to 12 years old and that somewhat limits how much
advanced Python concepts we could teach them. Though, we might stumble into
some prodigies that way...

I hope you'll have the time to write some feedback soon.

Kind regards,
Dinko Galetic
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