[Sugar-devel] [IAEP] [SLOBS] Action needed on two issues

Adam Holt holt at laptop.org
Sun Apr 10 01:01:55 EDT 2016

On Sat, Apr 9, 2016 at 10:33 PM, Dave Crossland <dave at lab6.com> wrote:

> On 9 April 2016 at 11:26, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> I also agree that $500 does seem excessive, and even inappropriate
> FWIW, I thought it was small; it is under minimum wage for some places.

Some teachers I work with in Haiti make less than this amount in an entire
year :(  When the TripAdvisor grant's defining 2013 document said "Sugar
Labs is a 100% volunteer project" that may have been the case, but it is
evidently no longer the case today.  Mako's point about volunteer
motivations (
https://mako.cc/writing/funding_volunteers/funding_volunteers.html) becomes
all the more critical if we go too far flaunting nebulous Trump-told-me
salaries in the faces of our hardest working volunteers, across the poorest
places on earth (many on these mailing lists) when that breaks our global
solidarity rather more than Leading Us Forward.

Walter and Devin Ulibarri chose to invest $3579.68 of Sugar Labs' money
going to Thailand's Constructionism 2016 (Feb 1-5) for a very good reason
-- to do exactly that, Lead Us Forward.  As that purpose does not yet
appear at http://planet.sugarlabs.org, Sugar Labs' community should help
Walter and Devin articulate this through community channels that bring this
impact to life, easing all our work of honoring TripAdvisor's
request/requirement for (1) "Board-Approved Annual Budget", (2) biennial
assessment if it has not already been submitted for August 2015, and (3)
final 3-year report to be submitted August 2016.

A preview from Feb 9:

'4. I [Walter Bender] just returned from Constructionism 2016 (See [3]), a
gathering of researchers and practitioners of the constructionist learning
philosophy is intended to be a place to showcase lessons learned,
innovative learning tools, new case studies, and novel approaches that has
been happening throughout the world." A number of Sugar Labs community
members were there, including Cynthia Solomon, Claudia Urrea, and Devin
Ulibarri. Devin and I spoke about Music Blocks and along with Cynthia and
Claudia, we ran several workshops for children and teachers. Lots of great
feedback and many new and renewed connections. (Our host, Khun Paron, has
been an advocate for Sugar for almost a decade.) The entire conference was
videotaped and will be posted online soon. Be sure to watch Cynthia's
keynote address in which she reviewed the history of Constructionism, which
has had a great influence on the design and development of Sugar.

5. Music Blocks is a fork the Turtle Blocks program that we began last year
during GSoC. Our goal is for Music Blocks to be an open-ended, yet
musically relevant tool—one that invites learners to explore fundamental
musical concepts that are both intrinsic to music yet transcendent of a
specific discipline.

The structure of our workshops included the concept of a "Power Piece". A
power piece is a melody or a song that is taught because it is powerful and
becomes more powerful as it is taught. Children took phrases of some
familiar music as a basis of exploring and manipulating the music through

As a result of feedback from the workshops, I have made a number of
improvements to Music Blocks [4]. It is much more robust and internally
consistent. Please do try it (there is a guide at [5]) and give me
additional feedback.'

[4] https://walterbender.github.io/musicblocks
[5] https://github.com/walterbender/musicblocks/blob/master/guide/README.md

A postscript from March 25:

'3. Devin Ulibarri and I had the opportunity to speak at LibrePlanet [2].
Our topic was "Education needs Free/Libre Software needs education." [3]

<blockquote>ABSTRACT: The bad news is that educational technology has
largely failed to deliver on its promise. Its focus on efficiency rather
than on learning has resulted in a further reinforcement of education as a
system of instruction to curricula rather than one of student-driven
construction of knowledge.

The good news is that Free/Libre Software is the starting point towards a
solution&emdash;not just because it tends to focus on putting powerful
tools into the hands of its end-users, but also because Free/Libre Software
espouses a culture of doing and sharing in a context of critique,
reflection, and personal responsibility.

In this session, we will review some tangible ways in which Free/Libre
Software is having and can have a positive impact on education and some
things we can and should be doing better. We will then discuss strategies
for advocating for Free/Libre Software in education systems both in the US
and globally. The next generation of computer users are in school today. We
need to ensure that the next generation is empowered to take advantage of
the opportunities afforded by Free/Libre Software.</blockquote>

Unlike the session on Free/Libre Software at EdFoo, which was sparsely
attended, there was standing-room only for our session. The recording
should be on line within a few weeks.

It occured to me afterwards that one simple call to action would be for
every member of the Free/Libre Software community to adopt a teacher (or be
open to being adopted, e.g., Devin, a music teacher, has adopted me). We
need to make our voices heard.'

[2] https://libreplanet.org/2016/
[3] https://wiki.sugarlabs.org/images/c/c7/Education-needs-free-software.pdf

Who can help Walter/Devin turn the above into more colorful (better yet
musical) blog post(s) that appear at http://planet.sugarlabs.org if not
beyond, to Lead Us Forward?

Unsung Heroes of OLPC, interviewed live @ http://unleashkids.org !
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