[Sugar-devel] Sugar Digest 2013-07-15

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Jul 15 20:45:59 EDT 2013

== Sugar Digest ==

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot
irreverence to their studies. They are not here to worship what is
known, but to question it.
--Jacob Bronowski

1. It has been a long while since my last post. Too much travel. I
started writing this post sitting at the gate in Tel Aviv, waiting for
my flight to New York to depart. (My second overnight flight in three
days.) Since then, I have also been to Sydney and back (for the second
time in two months).

Two things brought me to Tel Aviv: the Shaping the Future conference
on educational technology and the possibility of a Sugar deployment in
the Negev.

The conference, sponsored by CET [1] was very stimulating. I hung out
in the policy track to try to get an insight into the government
decision-making process. Not sure I came away with any new ideas, but
I did make some new friends, including former governor Bob Wise from
West Virginia. The governor knows Idit Harel, whose MamaMedia group
contributed some early apps [2] to Sugar. He is presently President,
Alliance for Excellent Education [3]. I was impressed by his

CET itself is quite impressive in the degree to which they mix deep
thinking about pedagogy with practical development of learning
materials. Many thanks to my hosts, Gila, Avi, and Cecelia. They will
be involved in whatever ends up happening in the Negev. It is looking
as if it will be an Android tablet deployment, so they are hoping to
pull together a team to help the Sugar community to accelerate its
efforts to get Sugar (or a Sugar-like experience) running on Android.
Stay tuned.

I met up with Claudia Urrea and Gonzalo Odiard in Sydney. We spend
five days with Rangan Srikhanta and the OLPC AU team. The first day we
visited a school in the outskirts of Sydney that is using Sugar. I was
thrilled to see the children engaged in problem solving, using the
computer as a tool, working in small groups in the classroom, each
group self-directed. No babysitting with rote-learning games.

At the OLPC AU office, we spent several days brainstorming about ways
to add value to the overall program in Australia, which goes beyond
distributing hardware and software to providing training, support, and
sharing of resources. It is a program with great potential.

One highlight was meeting Ian Mackie, who is deeply invested in the
prosperity of the indigenous peoples of Australia. He is excited about
the prospects of getting local language support into Sugar. I have
connected him with Chris Leonard.

I also got to spend some time with a former student, Vadim Gerasimov,
who is working for Google in Sydney. Vadim is helping me with a GDrive
webservice for Sugar. We have a command-line version working and I
hope to have it integrated into Sugar in short order.

2. During my blogging hiatus, Google Summer of Code began. Our Google
Summer of Code students are Kalpa, Marion, Rahul, Suraj, Akshit, Anna,
Casey, and Erik. We have a group meeting every Friday at 13:00 EST on
#sugar-meeting. Please join us.

3. I neglected to mention that Sugar Labs has received about 200 USB
keys from the Recycle USB program [4] run by Nexcopy [5]. My plan is
to distribute these keys (with Sugar installed) on Turtle Art Day,
which is scheduled for 12 October.

=== In the community ===

4. The RIT Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction & Creativity
(MAGIC) is pleased to announce that a student-led project entitled
“Sky Time” has been selected for inclusion in the White House
Champions of Change event on July 23rd in Washington, D.C. [6].

=== Tech Talk ===

5. A few months back, George Hunt announced the release of XSCE 0.3 [7]:
* XSCE now runs on the XO-1.5,XO-1.75 and  XO-4.
* Modular Architecture: cleanly integrate extendable services.
* XSCE runs on the XOs' current OS 13.1.0 (we discovered some wrinkles
with 13.2.0 which push its use off to the next release)
* Moodle is Back!
* Content filtering via openDNS.com
* Script for formatting of SD cards, and integration into system for content sto
rage and memory extending swap file (does not work on XO4's)

Since then, there has been another School Server code sprint (hosted
by Jerry Vonau) documented here [8].

6. We are making much progress on the road to the Sugar 0.100 (1.0)
release. Daniel Narveaz and Manuel Quiñones continue pushing forward
on the HTML5/Javascript support [9]. Suraj has been blogging about his
efforts [10]. I spent the weekend  writing my first JS Sugar activity
[11]. Lots to learn.

=== Sugar Labs ===

7. Please visit (and contribute to) our planet [12].


[1] http://cet.org.il
[2] http://www.mamamedia.com/
[3] http://www.all4ed.org
[4] http://recycleusb.com/
[5] http://www.nexcopy.com/
[6] http://foss.rit.edu/skytime-whitehouse
[7] http://schoolserver.org/0.3
[8] https://www.facebook.com/UnleashKids
[9] http://developer.sugarlabs.org/web-architecture.md.html
[10] http://surajgillespie123.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/gsoc/
[11] http://people.sugarlabs.org/walter/ConnecttheDots-1.xo
[12] http://planet.sugarlab.org


Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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