[Sugar-devel] Language Learner, a GSOC 2010 idea proposal

Christoph Derndorfer christoph.derndorfer at gmail.com
Tue Mar 30 04:22:39 EDT 2010

On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 1:35 PM, Zhang Yao <saturntoad at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi everyone, I'm running for the GSOC 2010 for SugarLabs and I'm proposing
> this idea to you to see whether it is good or not. Any feedback will be
> warmly welcomed : )
> As far as I know, there are no good language learning activities for Sugar
> and OLPC now. And I think it is really important to get a good sense of
> native language at the early stage of each childhood, since it should be the
> most critical and best time to learn letters, words,correct pronunciations,
> etc. And as the world getting more internationalized, it is also important
> to give them a basic sense of English, which is good for their future
> development.
> My proposal is to provide a basic language learning activity for Sugar and
> OLPC, using a method like language immersion. As many of OLPC users are
> pre-school and low-grade school children, such a language learning activity
> should be simple and intuitive. That is the reason why I consider to use the
> language-immersion-like method. To implement this method as an activity, I
> think using lots of images from ordinary children's daily life and embedding
> some small games is a good approach. This method focuses
> mainly not on things like advanced grammar but on the usage of a language
> in daily life, which is greatly suitable for basic language learners like
> children. It could be used for elder students when learning a second
> language as well.
> Also, this activity should be able to easily port from one language to
> another. Because a basic framework is provided and images used are common,
> only texts in the database should be translated to another language, which
> may be done simply by things like "Google Translate". Still, a teacher
> should be able to replace some of the images and add new images to the
> database. And other useful things like the espeak speech synthesizer could
> be used in it.
> To summarize, this activity is aimed to  introduce the basic and daily
> usage of a language to pre-school and low-grade school children and give
> them a good sense of the language for their further study in simple and
> intuitive ways. It can be ported to many languages and easily modified by
> teachers. It can also serve as a tool to learn the basis of a foreign
> language for children.
> As a university student in a developing country and the world is becoming
> more and more internationalized, I am really looking forward to giving all
> those children in developing countries opportunities to start the learning
> of their native language and also English as early as possilbe, so that they
> could stand a better chance in their future life. Therefore, if you have any
> suggestions about my proposal, please do not hesitate to give your feedback
> : )
> Best wishes!


this definitely sounds like a great project idea! :-)

Have you thought about the details on how to implement it?

One of my first thoughts is that it's very important to provide a good
interface for both using and building such language learning lessons, I
think Memorize is doing quite a lot of things right in that area.

<slight general rant>
I generally feel like there's still a real lack of activities aimed at
teaching, learning and practicing basic skills such as writing, speaking,
using the keyboard/touchpad, learning basic Mathematics, etc. This is
*exactly* what primary schools all around the world are doing yet I think we
haven't done a great job at addressing this when it comes to providing
appropiate activities.
</slight general rant>


Christoph Derndorfer
co-editor, olpcnews
url: www.olpcnews.com
e-mail: christoph at olpcnews.com
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