[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] 2017 Goals for Sugar Labs

Laura Vargas laura at somosazucar.org
Mon Apr 10 10:31:18 EDT 2017

Thank you Samson

Then I guess the email format is not the best choice. Could you please
document it on a wiki page at the Sugar Labs wiki?

Blessings and a nice week to all

Laura Victoria

2017-04-10 8:25 GMT-05:00 Samson Goddy <samsongoddy at gmail.com>:

> If i am wrong, walter made it clear earlier that this is a "draft
> proposal" meaning you can input.
> Samson
> On Apr 10, 2017 2:15 PM, "Laura Vargas" <laura at somosazucar.org> wrote:
> 2017-04-09 19:03 GMT-05:00 Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com>:
>> On Sun, Apr 9, 2017 at 7:56 PM, Dave Crossland <dave at lab6.com> wrote:
>>> Hi
>>> Thanks Walter. I'd like to better understand some additional context
>>> before diving in :)
>>> Does this mean Sameer you have stopped the project planning process you
>>> started, and we should not expect you to restart it again?
>> At the most recent SLOB meeting Samson brought up the fact that we were
>> still waiting and so I volunteered to write something up to get the
>> conversation going again.
> Thanks for doing this Walter,
> After a quick read, I have to confess I feel sad and excluded because none
> of the projects I have worked on [1] is mentioned on your view of Sugar's
> history.
> Regards and blessings,
> Laura V
>  [1] http://pe.sugarlabs.org/ir/Proyectos
>>> Walter, are these the goals for this year, or are they your proposal for
>>> the goals for this year?
>> Not sure I understand what you are asking. I wrote up a draft of goals
>> but they are not "the goals" until we agree to them.
>> regards.
>> -walter
>>> On Apr 9, 2017 3:31 PM, "Walter Bender" <walter.bender at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> As per the discussion in the last Suagr Labs Oversight Board Meeting, I
>>>> had agreed to write a draft statement of goals for 2017. The document below
>>>> includes feedback from Samson G. I hope this document can serve to
>>>> revitalize our discussion from 2016 that never reached resolution.
>>>> Sugar Labs Plans, Goals, Aspirations
>>>> What is Sugar Labs?
>>>> Sugar Labs creates, distributes, and maintains learning software for
>>>> children. Our approach to learning is grounded in Constructionism, a
>>>> pedagogy developed by Seymour Papert and his colleagues in the 1960s and
>>>> 70s at MIT. Papert pioneered the use of the computer by children to help
>>>> engage them in the “construction of knowledge.” His long-time colleague
>>>> Cynthia Solomon expanded up his ideas by introducing the concept of
>>>> engaging children in debugging as a pathway into problem-solving. Their
>>>> 1971 paper, “Twenty things to do with a computer”, is arguably the genesis
>>>> of contemporary movements such as the Maker Movement and Hour of Code.
>>>> At the core of Constructionism is “learning through doing.” If you want
>>>> more learning, you want more doing. At Sugar Labs we provide tools to
>>>> promote doing. (We focus almost exclusively on tools, not instructional
>>>> materials.) However, we go beyond “doing” by incorporating critical dialog
>>>> and reflection into the Sugar learning environment, through mechanisms for
>>>> collaboration, journaling, and portfolio.
>>>> Sugar Labs is a spinoff of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project and
>>>> consequently it has inherited many of its goals from that project. The goal
>>>> of OLPC is to bring the ideas of Constructionism to scale in order to reach
>>>> more children. A particular focus is on children in the developing world.
>>>> In order to meet that goal, Sugar, which was originally developed for OLPC,
>>>> was by necessity a small-footprint solution that required few resources in
>>>> terms of CPU, memory, storage, or network connectivity. The major change on
>>>> focus from the OLPC project is that Sugar Labs strives to make the Sugar
>>>> desktop available to multiple platforms, not just the OLPC XO hardware.
>>>> Who develops Sugar?
>>>> Sugar Labs is a 100% volunteer effort (although we do occasionally
>>>> raise money for paid student internships). Sugar development and
>>>> maintenance is incumbent upon volunteers and hence we strive to provide as
>>>> much control as possible to our community members, including our end-users.
>>>> (In fact, one of our assertions is that by enabling our users to
>>>> participate in the development of the tools that they use will lead to
>>>> deeper engagement in their own learning.) Towards these ends, we chose the
>>>> GPL as our primary license. It has been said of the GPL that it “restricts
>>>> my right [as a developer] to restrict yours [as a user and potential
>>>> developer]”, which seems ideal for a project that wants to engage a broad
>>>> and diverse set of learners. But at Sugar Labs we go beyond the usual goals
>>>> of FOSS: a license to make changes to the code is not enough to ensure that
>>>> users make changes. We also strive to provide the means to make changes.
>>>> Our success in this goal is best reflected in the number of patches we
>>>> receive from our community. (We achieve this goal through providing access
>>>> to source code and development tools within Sugar itself. We also actively
>>>> participate in workshops and internship programs such as Google Summer of
>>>> Code, Outreaching, and Google Code-In.)
>>>> Who uses Sugar?
>>>> Ultimately, our goal is to reach learners (and educators) with powerful
>>>> tools and engage them in Constructionist learning. Currently we reach them
>>>> in many ways: the majority of our users get the Sugar desktop preinstalled
>>>> on OLPC XO hardware. We have a more modest set of users who get Sugar
>>>> packaged in Fedora, Trisquel, Debian, Ubuntu, or other GNU/Linux platforms.
>>>> Some users get Sugar on Live Media (i.e., Sugar on a Stick). Recently
>>>> Sugarizer, a repackaging of some of the core Sugar ideas for the browser,
>>>> has been finding its way to some users. There are also a number of Sugar
>>>> activities that are popular outside of the context Sugar itself, for
>>>> example, Turtle Blocks, which has wide-spread use in India. Harder to
>>>> measure is the extent to which Sugar has influenced other providers of
>>>> “educational” software. If the Sugar pedagogy is incorporated by others,
>>>> that advances our goal.
>>>> Who supports Sugar?
>>>> When we first created Sugar Labs, we envisioned “Local Labs”—hence the
>>>> name “Sugar Labs”, plural—that would provide local support in terms of
>>>> local-language support, training, curriculum development, and
>>>> customizations. This model has not ever gained the scale and depth
>>>> envisioned (we can debate the reasons why), although there are still some
>>>> active local communities (e.g., Educa Paraguay) that continue to work
>>>> closely with the broader community. There are also individual volunteers,
>>>> such as Tony Anderson and T.K. Kang, who help support individual schools in
>>>> Rwanda, Malaysia, et al. An open question is how do we support our users
>>>> over the long term?
>>>> What is next for Sugar?
>>>> We face several challenges at Sugar Labs. With the ebb of OLPC, we have
>>>> a contracting user base and the number of professional developers
>>>> associated with the project is greatly diminished. How can we expand our
>>>> user base? How can we attract more experienced developers? Why would they
>>>> want to work on Sugar as opposed to some other project? The meta issue is
>>>> how do we keep Sugar relevant in a world of Apps and small, hand-held
>>>> devices? Can we meet the expectations of learners living in a world of
>>>> fast-paced, colorful interfaces? How do we ensure that it is fulfilling its
>>>> potential as a learning environment and that our users, potential users,
>>>> and imitators are learning about and learning from Sugar. Some of this is a
>>>> matter of marketing; some of this is a matter of staying focused on our
>>>> core pedagogy; some of this a matter of finding strategic partners with
>>>> whom we can work.
>>>> We have several near-term opportunities that we should leverage:
>>>> * Raspian: The Raspberry PI 3.0 is more than adequate to run Sugar—the
>>>> experience rivals or exceeds that of the OLPC XO 4.0 hardware. While RPi is
>>>> not the only platform we should be targeting, it does has broad penetration
>>>> into the Maker community, which shares a synergy with our emphasis on
>>>> “doing”. It is low-hanging fruit. With a little polish we could have an
>>>> image available for download from the RPi website.
>>>> * Trisquel: We have the potential for better leveraging the Free
>>>> Software Foundation as a vehicle for promoting Sugar. Their distro of
>>>> choice is Trisquel and the maintainer does a great job of keep the Sugar
>>>> packages up to date.
>>>> * Sugarizer: The advantage of Sugarizer is that it has the potential of
>>>> reaching orders of magnitude more users since it is web-based and runs in
>>>> Android and iOS. There is some work to be done to make the experience
>>>> palatable on small screens and the current development environment is—at
>>>> least my opinion—not scalable or maintainable. The former is a formidable
>>>> problem. The latter quite easy to address.
>>>> * Stand-alone projects such as Music Blocks have merit as long as they
>>>> maintain both a degree of connection with Sugar and promote the values of
>>>> the community. It is not certain that these projects will lead users
>>>> towards Sugar, but they do promote FOSS and Constructionist principles. And
>>>> they have attracted new developers to the Sugar community.
>>>> * School-server: The combination of the School Server and Sugar desktop
>>>> is a technical solution to problems facing small and remote communities. We
>>>> should continue to support and promote this combination.
>>>> Specific actions: After last year’s Libre Planet conference, several
>>>> community members discussed a marketing strategy for Sugar. We thought that
>>>> if we could reach influencers, we might be able to greatly amplify our
>>>> efforts. There are several prominent bloggers and pundits in the education
>>>> arena who are widely read and who might be receptive to what we are doing.
>>>> One significant challenge is that GNU/Linux remains on the far periphery of
>>>> the Ed Tech world. Although the “love affair” with all things Apple seems
>>>> to be over, the new elephant in the room—Chromebooks and Google Docs—is
>>>> equally difficult to co-exist with. Personally, I see the most potential
>>>> synergy with the Maker movement, which is building up momentum in
>>>> extra-curricular programs, where FOSS and GNU-Linux are welcome (hence my
>>>> earlier focus on RPi). (There are even some schools that are building their
>>>> entire curriculum around PBL.) We can and should develop and run some
>>>> workshops that can introduce Sugar within the context of the Maker
>>>> movement. (Toward that end, I have been working with some teachers on how
>>>> to leverage, for example, Turtle Blocks for 3D printing.) It is very much a
>>>> tool-oriented community with little overall discussion of architectural
>>>> frameworks, so we have some work to do. But there is lots of low-hanging
>>>> fruit there.
>>>> regards.
>>>> -walter
>>>> --
>>>> Walter Bender
>>>> Sugar Labs
>>>> http://www.sugarlabs.org
>>>> <http://www.sugarlabs.org>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>>>> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
>>>> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
>> --
>> Walter Bender
>> Sugar Labs
>> http://www.sugarlabs.org
>> <http://www.sugarlabs.org>
>> _______________________________________________
>> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
>> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
> --
> Laura V.
> * I&D SomosAZUCAR.Org*
> “No paradox, no progress.”
> ~ Niels Bohr
> Happy Learning!
> _______________________________________________
> Sugar-devel mailing list
> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel

Laura V.
* I&D SomosAZUCAR.Org*

“No paradox, no progress.”
~ Niels Bohr

Happy Learning!
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