[Sugar-devel] Sugar Digest 2010-05-20
walter.bender at gmail.com
Thu May 20 11:42:20 EDT 2010
1. A few weeks ago, when I was being hosted by Stephen Jacobs at RIT,
we had an opportunity to visit the Museum of Play in Rochester
(http://www.museumofplay.org). I got a behind-the-scenes look at their
collection, which includes a vast collection of computer games and
learning materials. I offered to send them the original OLPC XO
laptop—I have one of the two engineering prototypes—for their
One of the nice things as you walk through the museum is that on
almost every wall is a quote about play. They have a nice collection
of quotes on line as well (See
http://www.museumofplay.org/about_play/quotes.html). I read them a
favorite quote from Marvin Minsky, which seemed to resonate with them:
"The playfulness of childhood is the most demanding teacher we have."
We talked about how we might engage them in some informal learning
activities using Sugar.
I had written an NSF grant a while back: "Adding depth to and building
community within informal education", which was rejected, but is worth
I'd proposed to explore how children's activities at informal learning
venues can be extended by providing learners with inexpensive,
ubiquitous access to learning software (Sugar on a Stick). By
designing, developing, and testing a proof of concept that combines
informal learning activities with in-depth follow up at home or in the
classroom we still hope to demonstrate a learning ecology that
"increases public interest in, understanding of, and engagement with
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics."
Specifically, I proposed to leverage Sugar on a Stick to promote the
use of Sugar in informal learning settings: prototyping Sugar-based
exhibit kiosks in museums and libraries that will facilitate visitor
interactions. Visitors will be given a Sugar-on-a-Stick USB storage
device with which they can make bookmarks of exhibits that they
visited, found interesting, or saved data from. Exhibit designers can
use kiosks to collect visitor information and offer additional
activities and data that visitors can work with when back at school or
home. Activities can be downloaded to the Sugar-on-a-Stick device from
the kiosk. The work done by visitors can be incorporated into the
exhibit itself and featured on line, with the potential to reach a
I still hope to learn how the data- and instrumentation-rich
facilities found in informal learning settings and Sugar might be
combined to further engage the interest of learners in scientific and
technological literacy. I hypothesized that by giving visitors the
ability to take programs and data home with them, we will be able to
challenge them with more in-depth and engaging problem solving. Giving
them activities to take home, connecting these activities to other
learning experiences and interests, and connecting these activities to
a community of learners are significant enhancements to the status quo
of informal learning.
We need to evaluate the technical, logistical, and pedagogical impacts
on the museum exhibit experience, library digital and human resources,
and education programs s that we can develop an implementation guide
for informal-learning professionals.
=== Help wanted ===
2. We have a number of vacancies (See
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Vacancies). Many of these positions
require organization as opposed to technical skills and only a
commitment of a few hours per week.
===In the community===
3. The dates for Squeakfest USA in Wilmington NC are July 26, 27, 28.
See http://squeakfest.org for more details.
=== Tech talk ===
4. Many thanks to Josh Williams, who led a team effort to update the
wiki to a new, cleaner style. Also, thanks to Bernie Innocenti for
moving the wiki to a new server.
5. We are very close to having the final production builds of Fedora
11/Sugar 0.84 available for both the OLPC XO-1 and OLPC XO-1.5
machines. Many 0.88 patches have been backported, making this version
of Sugar quite robust.
6. With help from Reuben Caron, Paul Fox, Bernie Innocenti, and Chris
Ball, I managed to add a new control panel section for switching
between the capacitive and resistive touchpads on the OLPC XO-1 CL1
hardware (See [[http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Features/Touchpad_control_panel_section).
The motivation for this work is to give the children who have been
struggling with the jumpy capacitive touchpad on the first-generation
XO-1 hardware access to the stylus. We'll be testing the patch in
Peru, Paraguay, and Nigeria.
Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion on
the IAEP mailing list.
Visit our planet [http://planet.sugarlabs.org] for more updates about
Sugar and Sugar deployments.
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