Sugar Digest 2014-12-15

Sugar Digest

1. Google Code In update: After the first two weeks, we have 33 participants and almost 140 tasks completed. The pace is faster than in years past, perhaps because we have more experienced Sugar users each year. You can follow the action (the contest runs for five more weeks) at [GCI 2014].

At the current pace, almost 500 tasks will have been completed by the end of the contest. If you have project ideas, please let me (or any of the other mentors) know. We can continue to add new tasks throughout the contest. Tasks include coding, but also documentation, quality assurance, outreach, etc.

2. We continue to make progress on Turtle Blocks JS (the Javascript version of Turtle Blocks). There have been many new contributions from participants in Google Code In and in generally, the code is approaching a point of stability. You can try it by visiting [https://turtle.sugarlabs.org] or by downloading the activity locally from [https://github.com/walterbender/turtleblocksjs]. Any and all comments, feedback, bug reports, merge requests, and suggestions welcome.

Tech Talk

3. Martin Abente has been working on new translation platform, including a new Pootle instance. He has been adding repositories there so translators can start working. If you are interested in having your project included in the new platform, please follow these instructions:
# If you still use our old Gitorious repository, please move your projects to Github. Gitorious is considered read-only now. (See [How_to_migrate_from_Gitorious] for details about how to move projects.)
# Update this [http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Translation_Team/Pootle_Projects/Repositories] wiki page so we can track your project’s repository.
# Be sure to grant commit access to [sugarlabs-pootle] the Sugar Labs Github Pootle user.
# Create a new user on the new translation platform ([http://translate.sugarlabs.org]).
# Please send an email to Martin (CC’ing sugar-devel) with a list of the repositories for your projects so that he can add them to Pootle. Don’t forget to specify your user name on the translation platform.

4. The final phase of the run up the the Sugar 0.104 release is testing and bug fixing. Martin has released tarballs for our (UNSTABLE) feature-freeze release, which can be downloaded from:
* [sugar]
* [sugar-artwork]
* [sugar-datastore]
* [sugar-runner]
* [sugar-toolkit]

We welcome all the help you can provide testing and fixing bugs!

Sugar Labs

5. Please visit our planet.

Sugar Digest 2014-11-03

Sugar Digest

1. I spent the month of October reacquainting myself with Javascript. Since I cannot learn without learning about something (to paraphrase Seymour Paper), I wrote a new version of Turtle Blocks in Javascript. It is far from finished, but it is already usable (at least from a Chrome browser — for some reason I have broken it on Firefox). Feedback most welcome both in terms of the activity itself and any improvements I can make to the code. (Note: saving is a bit flaky at the moment, so please be prepared to lose your work.)

It is inevitable that Javascript/HTML5 is in our future and so I am determined to make the best of it. While we were in San Francisco at the Google Summer of Code reunion, Martin Abente, Gonzalo Odiard, and I sent time with Raul Gutierrez Segales working on several aspects of the Sugar-web framework, including a model for “under the tree” collaboration. Martin wrote a simple server using socket.io and I wrote a simple neighborhood view that lets you see your collaborators. We had the opportunity to bounce ideas of Ben Schwartz, Sameer Verma, Aaron Borden, and Bernie Innocenti.

Raul, Martin, and I also did some brainstorming about developing a new web backend for the Sugar datastore based on git. Details to follow.

Tip of the hat to Alex Kleider, who hosted our Sugar Camp on his houseboat in Redwood City. Alex has also been providing me with comprehensive feedback on Turtle Blocks JS.

Aside: Raul added a wrapper to Turtle Blocks JS that enables it to be launched as a Facebook App. Not public yet as we await Facebook approval, but it opens some interesting possibilities about where we can take some of the core ideas from Sugar.

2. The Google Summer of Code reunion was lots of fun. A chance to catch up with old friends and to help bring into focus some future directions. I spent time with the Google Code In team and I got Sugar Lab’s application submitted. We still need to flesh out the wiki page with more task ideas and add our growing mentor list. Please contact me regarding details.

3. Gonzalo, Aaron, and Sameer organized Turtle Art Day San Francisco in conjunction with the OLPC SF meeting. While more sparsely attended than we had anticipated, nonetheless, it was an enriching experience for those who came. Martin also joined the fun, helping with some Turtle Bots programming.

4. It is not too late to toss your hat into the ring for the annual Sugar Labs Oversight Board election (AKA SLOBs). Four (4) seats are open (due to staggered seat terms) for election / re-election to the Sugar Labs Oversight Board for 2013-2014, those of Daniel Francis, Gonzalo Odiard, Adam Holt, and Claudia Urrea. Please let me know if you are interested running for one of our board seats and also, please add your self to the candidates’ wiki page. Also, since only members receive ballots, please be sure to sign up for membership by following the instructions in the wiki. Finally, we need help running the election itself. Please contact me (or Luke Faraone) if you are interested in helping.

Sugar Labs

5. Please visit our planet.

Sugar Digest 2014-10-01

Sugar Digest

1. September was an exciting month. We held the first Sugar Youth Summit in Montevideo, organized by Daniel Francis and Jose Miguel Garcia and generously hosted by ANEP. The event featured a day-long symposium and series of workshops, including ones on Turtle Art, Butia, and how to write a Sugar activity. One teacher who attended the Turtle Art workshop exclaimed that she could not believe the progress she made.

The event was attended by youths from Uruguay and Paraguay and educators and developers from as far away as Nicaragua and Colombia. We had an Argentine contingent as well.

The symposium and workshops were held on Software Freedom Day. Given the number of Python programmers in attendance, it occurred to me that we should petition the city of Montevideo to rename itself Monty Python (after whom the language was named) for Software Freedom Day each year.

The day before the symposium Gonzalo Odiard, Mariana Herrera, Jose Miguel, and I visited a school for children with special needs. As a result, during the code sprint that followed the symposium, we wrote three new activities that have their content and user interface tailored to the school’s population. Lorena Paz from Argentina, also in attendance, resurfaces a number of issues around accessibility that we will consider in the coming months as well.

Coincident with the weekend of hacking was a robo-Sumo contest at FING. It was a good opportunity to spend time with Andres Aguirre and Alan Aguiar of Butia fame and to recruit some new talent. Several of the more competitive kids joined us in the workshops. They took a special interest in Turtle Blocks 3D, one of the Google Summer of Code projects that is coming into its own.

Gonzalo and I also got a chance to meet with a group of teachers convened by Jose Miguel at his office at ANEP. These teachers are engaged in various project-based learning initiatives across the country. Really good work — utilizing the computer as a tool to enhance authentic inquiry by the children. I look forward to continued interactions with them.

2. At the workshop, Martin Abente presented the initial plans for Sugar 104. (Martin has generously offered to be the release manager.) The new features under consideration can be found at 0.104/Feature_List.

We’ll be discussing these features in an online meeting on 2 October at 13 UTC. Please join us on irc.freenode.net #sugar-meeting.

3. I’ve been working on polishing up the Turtle Blocks 3D code over the past few weeks. There are a number of improvements from where we (Anubhav and I) left things this summer. Notably, the interface between Turtle Blocks and Blender is much richer. You can export .OBJ files from Turtle and import them into Blender and export .OBJ files from Blender and import them into Turtle. Currently I am working on adding a 3D cursor, which I designed and rendered in Turtle Blocks 3D itself. See http://github.com/Anubhav-J/turtleart.git for a preview.

4. I’ve been working on a new activity similar to the Portfolio activity that is geared towards reflection. Like Portfolio, it draws upon Journal items that have been starred. It also allows the user to create reflections unrelated to any Journal items. The presentation is quite different from Portfolio, which is modeled after a slide show. Reflect is more like a stream, similar to the news feeds in Facebook and Google+. The stream supports comments and attaching media, and it can be searched by #tags. A preview is available at http://github.com/walterbender/reflect.git. Feedback most welcome.

5. It is time to begin preparing for the annual Sugar Labs Oversight Board election (AKA SLOBs). Four (4) seats are open (due to staggered seat terms) for election / re-election to the Sugar Labs Oversight Board for 2013-2014, those of Daniel Francis, Gonzalo Odiard, Adam Holt, and Claudia Urrea. Please let me know if you are interested running for one of our board seats and also, please add your self to the candidates’wiki page. Also, since only members receive ballots, please be sure to sign up for membership by following the instructions in the wiki. Finally, we need help running the election itself. Please contact me (or Luke Faraone) if you are interested in helping.

In the community

6. Several of us will be in the Bay Area for the Google Summer of Code summit in late October. In conjunction with that event, we’ll be holding a code sprint to look at the collaboration stack.

7. The next Turtle Art Day event will be a workshop at Prospect Hill Academy in Somerville. Caroline Meeks is hosting the event. I’ve been busy making Sugar-on-a-Stick USB keys to give the kids. (I’m using Ruben Rodriguez’s Trisquel TOAST image, which has an up-to-date copy of Turtle Blocks.)

We are also planning a Turtle workshop in San Francisco in October.

Tech Talk

8. Lionel Laské recently announced the fourth version (0.4) of http://sugarizer.org Sugarizer, a taste of Sugar for any device. Sugarizer reproduces the main features of Sugar in HTML5/JavaScript. It is available from a browser or as an Android application. Lionel presents Sugarizer in a talk at SugarCamp Paris.

9. Sebastian Silva and Laura Vargas recently announced that > 20000 children are now using Sugar Network. Tip of the hat to Aleksey Lim who has been working diligently behind the scenes on the project.

Sugar Labs

10. Please visit our planet at http://planet.sugarlabs.org.

Sugar Digest 2014-09-03

== Sugar Digest ==

I took the summer off from blogging, hence I have a lot to report about the exciting progress we’ve made of the past three months.

First, congratulations to our ten participants in Google Summer of Code:

Project Student Mentor
Music Suite Aneesh Dogra Gonzalo Odiard
Turtle Art 3D Anubhav Jaiswal Tony Forster
Activity Unit/UI Tests Gaurav Parida Daniel Narvaez
Port to Python 3 Kunal Arora Sameer Verma
Bulletin Board Nazrul Haque Athar Walter Bender
Hack a Stuffed Animal Jade Garrett Stephen Thomas
Social Help for Sugar Prasoon Shukla Paul Cotton
Cordova Container for Sugar Puneet Kaur Lionel Laské
Sugar Listens Rodrigo Parra Martin Abente

Also, thank you to both Google, for once again letting us participate in this great program and to our mentors, who gave time and attention to the students. I am happy to say that we not only learned a great deal, e.g., Kunal’s efforts have informed us as to what we will need to do to migrate to Python 3, but also, we have landed (or will land) much of the work.

For example, one of the projects, Turtle Art 3D, is now available for download from the Sugar activity portal.

2. We held a Turtle Art Day in San Antonio Texas in August as part of Open Ed Jam, organized by Mariah Noelle Villarreal. Tip of the hat to Ruben Rodriguéz, whose TOAST (Trisquel with Sugar) image was used in the workshop.

We used USB keys donated by Nexcopy as part of their Recycle USB campaign.

3. Speaking of Turtle Art, Cynthia Solomon, Claudia Urrea, and I wrote a paper, “(More than) Twenty Things to Do in Turtle Blocks” for the Constructionist Conference in Vienna. We made some videos as well.

In the community

4. There will be a Youth Summit held in Montevideo September 20-23.
ANEP (National Administration of Public Education) and Sugar Labs are organizing a World Junior Programmers Summit, a meeting among youths from different parts of the world who are working in software development. Taking advantage of this gathering, we are soliciting participation by leaders of educational programs interested in the potential that technology has on learning and in promoting meaningful participation of students.

This event will last for four days, three days for the youth meeting, and the fourth day for a series of strategic to discuss the current impact and future of the Sugar learning environment. The first day of the youth event will be open to anyone interested in joining the community of free software developers, while the other two days will be for those who are already actively involved in Sugar development.

Who should attend:
* Youths who have an interest in programming and / or have made ​​concrete contributions to the development of the Sugar learning environment;
* Leaders interested in participating in a series of strategic meetings to define the future of the Sugar learning environment.

Why participate in this meeting:
* To work with internationally recognized young a Python developers;
* Help define the future of the Sugar learning environment and future generations of software for learning;
* To connect with experts, convinced of the potential of technology in the development and learning;
* To strengthen the community of users of the Sugar learning environment around the world.

Anyone interested in participating in this important event should contact us immediately. ANEP has offered funding to cover the local costs for youths to participate in this event.

Registration is here.

Tech Talk

5. Martin Abente oversaw the release of Sugar 102 and is now gathering feature requests for Sugar 104.

Sugar Labs

6. Please visit our planet at http://planet.sugarlab.org

Sugar Digest 2014-05-15

Sugar Digest

Happy 6th Birthday Sugar Labs

1. I just got back from Turtle Art Day in Kathmandu, Nepal. OLE Nepal helped organize a 2-day workshop with 70+ children from four schools. Many thanks to Martin Dluhos, Basanta Shrestha, Subir Pradhanang, Rabi Karmacharya, Bernie Innocenti, Nick Dorian, and Adam Holt, all of whom contributed to the event.

It was not a surprise that children in Nepal are like children everywhere else: they take to programming like ducks to water. We began by taking the children in small groups to learn some basics about controlling the turtle: one child plays the role of turtle, one holds the pen (a piece of chalk) and the rest, in a circle, instruct the “turtle” how to draw a square. They need to be very precise with their instructions: if they just say “forward” without saying how far forward, the turtle keeps walking. If they say “right”, without saying how far to turn, the turtle keeps spinning. After they draw a square, I ask them to draw a triangle then they are ready to start with Turtle Art. I’ve posted a few of the chalk drawings in the wiki: simple ones from my session to more elaborate from those working with another one of the mentors.

After working with chalk, we went to the computers. On a laptop connected to a projector, I introduced Turtle Blocks, and again ask for a square. I show them that they can snap together blocks, e.g., forward 100, right 90; showed them the repeat block; and then I show them how to use the start block to run their program with the rabbit or snail (fast or slow). Over time, I introduced the pen and let them explore colors for awhile. Next, I introduce action blocks: make an action for drawing a square and then call that action inside of a repeat block followed by right 45, and you get a pretty cool pattern. This was followed by more open-ended exploration. I introduced a few more ideas, such as using “set color to heading” (the color is determined by the direction the turtle is heading); “set color = color + 1″ to increment the color; and “set color = time” to make the color slowly change over time. I also introduced a few other blocks, such as show, speak, and random. Finally, I introduced boxes. For this, I use a physical box: I ask the children to put a number (written on paper) in the box; then I ask them what number is in the box. I ask them to take the number in the box and add 1 to it. Again I ask them what number is in the box. I repeat this until they get used to it; then I show them the same thing using Turtle. The example program I write with them is to go forward by the amount in the box, turn right, and add 10 to the number in the box. I asked them what they think will happen and then show them that it makes a spiral. When they run it with the “snail”, they can see the number in the box as the program runs. Another block I explicitly introduced was the “show” block. We programmed an animation with “show image”, “wait 1″, “show image”, “wait 1″, … They recorded dance steps using the Sugar Record activity and used those images in their Turtle projects. As often as possible, we tried to have a child show their work to the entire group. At the end of the second day, we had a table set up for an exhibition; we had to keep adding more tables as more and more children wanted to show off their projects.

We originally planned on break-out sessions on Day Two, but we had a technical glitch on Day One, that slowed things down quite a bit. The children were running Sugar 0.82 on XO-1 laptops, which is nearly six-years old. They had them connected to the mesh network, which cannot scale properly to 70+ machines. The result was a lot of frozen machines. It took most of the day to figure out what was wrong. Once we turned off the radios, everything worked great. I also had to spin a stripped down version of Turtle Art, since a number of dependencies I use, such as some Python 2.7 features, were unavailable on 0.82.

We did have one break-out session for robotics. I brought a Butia to Nepal and I wrote the typical program with the kids to have the Butia go forward until it got to the edge of the circle (everyone was sitting in a circle on the floor); whomever the Butia approached had to push a button so that the Butia would spin and then go in another direction. We then added a few embellishments: the Butia would say “ouch” or “that tickles” when the button was pushed; and we had it take a picture of the child who pushed the button. We saved the files so we could use them to make an animation in Turtle Art.

Of note: One child approached me to say he is teaching himself to program Python. I showed him how to export Python from his Turtle Art projects. I’ll be curious how he uses that feature. I am making a new set to Turtle Cards to demonstrate the steps we took in explaining Turtle to the children.

Photos: [1] [2] [3] [4]

2. While I was in Kathmandu, I had a chance to meet with the Nepali FOSS community, thanks to Shankar Pokharel, Ankur Sharma, and Subir Pradhanang. We had a nice talk about the challenges and opportunities facing FOSS in Nepal.

3. Just before my trip to Nepal, I was in Mexico DF attending Aldea Digital. The central plaza in Centro Historico is turned into the world’s largest free Internet cafe for two weeks. I gave a lecture about Sugar and ran an impromptu Turtle Art session. (We installed Sugar in a VM on twenty Windows 8 machines and ran a session.) I also had a chance to meet Ian, the 9-month old baby of Carla Gomez: a future Turtle Artist.

In the Community

4. Mike Dawson, formally of OLPC Afghanistan, wrote a nice commentary on the Keepod in which he mentions Sugar on a Stick.

5. Google Summer of Code begins on the 19th of May. We’ll be meeting every week in IRC on Fridays at 2PM EST.

6. There is still time to enter the Sugar Background Image Contest.

Tech Talk

7. Daniel Narvaez has been building F20 images for XO: The XO-1 image boots into Sugar (latest from git) and wifi works. He has also built XO-4 images.

8. Daniel also built tarballs for 0.101.5 (sugar-0.101.7.tar.xz and sugar-toolkit-gtk3-0.101.5.tar.xz). We are now in string, API and UI freeze.

9. Please help us with testing of Sugar 102.

Sugar Labs

10. Please visit our planet.

Sugar Digest 2014-04-01

Sugar Digest

1. Daniel Narvaez just released Sugar 0.101.6 (unstable). See 0.102/Notes for detailed notes on changes since Sugar 0.100. The tarfiles are available at [1], [2],
[3] and new test builds are being prepared (keep an eye on 0.102/Testing). We’ve entered Feature Freeze (which had been extended by three weeks to enable us to land a few more features). Time to chase down bugs. Tip-of-the-hat to Gonzalo Odiard, Martin Abente, and Manuel Quiñones, who put so much effort into getting the last few features over the hump. Also, an extraordinary number of new features were contributed by our Google Code-in students: special kudos to Emil Dudev, Ignacio Rodriguez, and Sam Parkinson. Finally, it was really nice to see so many first-time contributors.

2. Gonzalo has made some videos demonstrating the new features in both Sugar 100 and Sugar 102.

3. We are reviewing Google Summer of Code applications. We had 35 applicants this year. We’ll know in a few weeks how many slots we get from Google.

4. I traveled to Colombia a few weeks ago with Claudia Urrea to visit a wonderful ANSPE project in Chia being run by Aura Mora. Saw some old friends (Sebastian Silva, Laura Vargas, and Sandra Barragán) and made many new friends. The highlights for me were the two Turtle Art workshops: one at the National University in Bogota and the other with the children in Chia.

5. Claudia and Erik Blankinship joined me on a panel discussion at LibrePlanet 2014. The panel, which will be available online, was “No more mouse: saving elementary education”.

:The lack of a mouse and the presence of “the mouse” are having a detrimental impact on global elementary education. The rush to adopt tablets is putting passive tools of consumption into the hands of young learners at a time in their development when “making” is paramount. The “Disneyification” of media further erodes the opportunity for personal expression by young learners. In this panel we will characterize these threats and discuss strategies for combating them.

In the community

6. Sugar Camp #3 - Paris, hosted by Bastien Guerry, will be held from 12-13 April in Carrefour Numérique – Cité des Sciences.

7. Claudia will be hosting a Learning Chat on Wednesday, 2 April, at 10AM EST, 15 GMT. The guest speaker will be Gonzalo. Please join us at irc.freenode.net #sugar-meeting. (These meetings will be held regularly on the first Wednesday of each month.)

8. The Sugar Background Image Contest has begun.

Tech Talk

9. I wrote a new activity while I was in Colombia: Word Cloud is a simple activity for generating word clouds from text.

10. Another new activity worth mentioning is Flappy by Alan Aguiar. Enjoy. (I cannot get past the first gate.)

Sugar Labs

11. Please visit our planet.

Sugar Digest 2014-03-09

Sugar Digest

1. Wow. We’ve surpassed 10 million downloads from activities.sugarlabs.org

2. Daniel Narvaez just released Sugar 0.101.4 (unstable). See 0.102/Notes for detailed notes on changes since Sugar 0.100. We’ve entered Feature Freeze. Time to chase down bugs.

3. In preparing the release notes, it was really nice to see how many contributors we have. It was also remarkable to see how many commits were made by Gonzalo Odiard. Kudos.

4. Google Summer of Code applications can be submitted beginning Monday, 10 March. Applications close on 21 March. See How to participate.

In the community

5. Sugar Camp #3 – Paris, hosted by Bastien Guerry, will be held from 12-13 April in Carrefour Numérique – Cité des Sciences.

Sugar Labs

6. Please visit our planet.

Sugar Digest 2014-02-09

Sugar Digest

The task from K-12 is building a thirst for knowledge, pleasure in speaking up, and curiosity, curiosity, curiosity—persistently pursued. We need habits of the mind that carry over to the many hours we are not in school and the years and years that follow. –Deborah Meier

—-

It has been awhile. Google Code In pretty much consumed me from mid-November to mid-January. From there I was spirited away to Sydney, where I am working with Paul Cotton on a new Sugar activity that the OLPC AU deployment plans to use for introducing Sugar to classroom teachers. And more recently, I just finished up the Sugar Labs application to Google Summer of Code 2014.

1. Regarding GCI, I am please to announce that Ignacio Rodríguez and Jorge Gómez were our two grand-prize winners. They will travel to Google in early April. Gonzalo Odiard will join them as the Sugar Labs representative. Our other finalists were Sai Vineet, Emil Dudev, and Sam Parkinson. An amazing group of young developers. Between them they made contributions to Sugar core, numerous Sugar activities, and enhanced our documentation. Ignacio wrote two new web services — [https://github.com/ignaciouy/upload-webservice PutLocker] and [https://github.com/ignaciouy/sugar-gdrive GDrive] — and four new Sugar activities during the contest. Jorge made numerous enhancements to Turtle Art and has written a first pass of Turtle Art in JavaScript. Sai Vineet added pen and rope objects to the Physics activity, developed unit tests for Sugar activities, and made numerous enhancements to Pippy. Emil Dudev converted Sugar core to use gsettings and added a microphone volume control widget to the Frame. Sam wrote an icon viewer to the Sugar Journal, made an amazing how-to video for view source, and enabled recording to external devices in the Record activity. All five have been very active since the end of the contest, continuing to make significant contributions. For example, Sam just revamped the Sugar notification service. I cannot sufficiently express the degree to which their contributions enhance our project: not just the code, which is of high quality, but the fact that Sugar, to a greater and greater extent, is being shaped by its end-user community. Kids from Australia to Zimbabwe taking responsibility for their tools of learning and expression. Wow. It works!

Ignacio and Gonzalo have assembled a page in the wiki to summarize the various contributions by the GCI participants [http://wikisugarlabs.org/go/Google_Code_In_2013/Final_Work].

2. I am please to announce that José Miguel García has joined the Sugar Labs oversight board (AKA SLOB). José Miguel brings his years of experience in pedagogical research and practice to our discussions and he brings additional perspective from the South, where we have so many Sugar learners. SLOB members have been meeting regularly on the first Monday of each month at 9AM EST (14 UTC). Meeting notes can be found in the wiki [http://wikisugarlabs.org/go/Oversight_Board/Minutes#Meetings].

3. I submitted an application on behalf of Sugar Labs to [http://wikisugarlabs.org/go/Summer_of_Code/2014|GSoC 2014]. I’ve also begun assembling a page of project ideas. Please feel free to contribute additional idea. We are soliciting additional mentors, but please note that we are vetting our mentors quite rigorously this year to ensure that their commitment to the students is adequate to ensure a successful outcome. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

4. Manuel Quiñones and Gonzalo are organizing a [https://gist.github.com/manuq/fbc0126fbacd4c3e313e design contest] for Sugar background images. More details to be announced soon.

In the community

5. [http://fr.amiando.com/sugarcamp3.html Sugar Camp #3 - Paris], hosted by Bastien Guerry, will be held from 12-13 April in Carrefour Numérique – Cité des Sciences.

Tech Talk

6. Lionel Laské has been making great strides on [http://sugarizer.org/ "Sugarizer"], a version of Sugar that runs in a web browser.

7. Lots of cool new features in the [http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4193 Physics activity] (including collaboration) and [http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4041 Pippy].

8. Feedback regarding the beta version of the aforementioned [https://github.com/walterbender/training "teacher training" activity] would be greatly appreciated.

9. I am on a mission to make as much of Sugar as possible available to “user space”. Part of that effort was realized by making Sugar extensions available from ~/.sugar/default/extensions. More recently, I have been working on a new web service (with help from Martin Abente) that exposes many basic [https://github.com/walterbender/sugarservices Sugar services] to user space, e.g. sugar shell and journal. Again, feedback most welcome.

Sugar Labs

10. Please visit our [http://planet.sugarlabs.org planet].

Sugar Digest 2013-12-25

Sugar Digest

”Between the ages of five and nine, I was almost perpetually at war with the education system… As soon as I learned from my mother that there was a place called school that I must attend willy nilly—a place where you were obliged to think about matters prescribed by a ‘teacher,’ not about matters decided by yourself—I was appalled.” —Fred Hoyle

1. Another sweet year: Each year I am asked to write up a summary of the Sugar Labs activity for the Software Freedom Conservancy annual report. Here is a draft of this year’s report.

;JS/HTML5: Last year, our major major technical effort was the transition to GNOME Toolkit 3. This year, we have been focusing on adding Javascript/HTML5 support to Sugar. Under the leadership of Daniel Narvaez, Manuel Quiñones, and Lionel Laské, the developer team has made Javascript/HTML5 a first-class development environment, i.e., you can write Sugar activities in Javascript and they will behave in a manner equivalent to Python/Gtk3 activities, with Journal support, Sugar toolbars, etc. At the same time, these activities can run in a web browser and can readily be ported to platforms such as Android. This has been a community effort with contributions coming from all corners and has already attracted some new developers to the project.

;Web services: Another important technical development was the addition of web services to Sugar. Born from a weekend of coding in Raúl Gutiérrez Segalés’s living room, Sugar now has a framework for integrating with a wide variety of web services, enabling our users to take advantage of file sharing and social network utilities directly from within the Sugar Journal.

;Sugar activities: Our “app store” continues to grow, thanks in large part to contributions from Sugar users who have made the transition to Sugar developers. The trend of apps written by children who grew up with Sugar is holding: still more than 10% of our apps were written by children and at least 30% are maintained by children. Those numbers may increase given a recent development: thanks to the efforts of Marion Zepf, a Google Summer of Code intern, we can now export Python code from Turtle Art, one of the block-based programming environments in Sugar. From there, you are literally two mouse-clicks away from turning your program into a Sugar activity, which can be shared with friends or uploaded to the app store. Meanwhile, we are approaching ten-million downloads from our app store.

;Sugar core: We landed a number of enhancements created by our users. Some of my favorites from the past year are oriented towards end-user customization. We designed Sugar with a sparse aesthetic not because we wanted to promote Swiss design or because we were lacking access to professional designers; rather we wanted to let our users “complete” the look and feel to their own specifications. This is getting easier: Daniel Francis implemented multiple home views; Agustin Zubiaga Sanchez implemented background image support; Ignacio Rodríguez implemented a tool for customizing icons.

;Internationalization push: Chris Leonard continues to recruit and assist translation teams so that Sugar has better coverage in the mother tongues and indigenous languages of our users. One highlight of the past year is that Edgar Quispe completed the translation of Sugar into Aymara, one of the major indigenous languages of Peru. We have some funding from the Trip Advisor Foundation to expand our outreach for internationalization and are currently making a push to recruit more translators in Māori, Haitian Creole, Khmer, Gurani, and Quechua. (A tip of the hat to Larry Denenberg, whom has been working on the Hebrew translations and also made the connection between Trip Advisor Foundation and Sugar Labs.) Chris is also leading an effort to help upstream support for some of these languages, and we continue to host translation efforts for many upstream projects.

;TA Days: Also through the generosity of the Trip Advisor Foundation, we have been celebrating Turtle Art Days: so far in Paraguay, Uruguay, Singapore, Malaysia, Costa Rica, and Peru. Thanks to Claudia Urrea and the learning team who have made these events possible, helping us to promote programming as core pedagogical construct.

;Sugar and robotics: From the Butiá project begun at FING in Montevideo, we’ve seen huge growth in the interest in using Sugar (and in particular, Turtle Art) as a medium for introducing children to programming robotics. Andres Aguirre and Alan Aguiar have worked closely with Sugar Labs to develop a comprehensive programming environment and curriculum around robots. The latest “fork” is Junky, a project lead by Martin Abente in Asuncion. Meanwhile efforts to better support Sugar on platforms such as Raspberry Pi continue: one of our goals is to make Sugar suitable and desirable as a platform for the growing Maker movement.

;Sugar on a Stick: There have been almost 1,000,000 visits to the Sugar on a Stick page (a version of Sugar that will run on any x86-based computer that can boot from a USB stick). We had two releases of [[Sugar_on_a_Stick/Downloads|Sugar on a Stick]] in 2013. Also a GCI student updated the [[Sugar_on_a_Stick/Installation_Process|instructions for preparing a SoaS image]]. Kudos to Peter Robinson, Thomas Gilliard, and the rest of the SoaS team.

;Change in support model: Last year saw a change in focus at One Laptop per Child, developer of the XO computer, which continues to be the platform of choice for most Sugar users. While they still manufacture and sell the XO, they have put much of their effort into developing an Android tablet. This has meant relatively fewer OLPC resources directed towards XO and Sugar. The good news is that the major Sugar deployments have been stepping in: Developers in Australia, Uruguay, Nicaragua, et al. continue to support Sugar on the XO platform and the pace of Sugar development has actually accelerated. Exciting times for the project.

Other highlights from the Sugar Digest:
:November
* Google Code In begins
:October
* Turtle Art Day in Caacupé
* Sugar 100 released
:September
* Sugar on the web demo
:August
* Flavio Danesse expounds on teaching Python
:July
* Turtle Flags released
:June
* Shaping the Future
:May
* Google Summer of Code
:April
* An interview with Alan Kay
:March
* Physics on the XO
:February
* Web services debut
:January 2013
* Visualizing Turtle Blocks
* Claudia, Gonzalo, and Daniel join the oversight board

And some trends:
* Looking at visitors to sugarlabs.org, Uruguay still leads the way by almost an order of magnitude. Argentina, Philippines, and Thailand suggests there are many Sugar users on non-OLPC hardware in those countries.
* There is an uptick in the number of activities written by commercial third parties.
* The trend of kid-developed activities is holding (as well as kid-maintained activities).
* There are more ways for our users to modify Sugar itself, e.g., Icon Change.
* The School Server project has a new life thanks to a concerted community effort.

Last year’s report is available at [[Archive/Current_Events/2012-10-01]].

2. Google Code In. The way it is supposed to work: A student is working on task decides an activity would be better if it had an additional feature, so he adds it. Just two more weeks left. To date, more than 150 projects have been completed by 32 competitors. A few highlights: a icon view for the Journal, a pen object for Physics, a brilliant video on how to use view source [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm5VdvRMvo4&feature=youtu.be], a comic-book introduction to Turtle Art [http://google-melange.appspot.com/gci/work/download/google/gci2013/5814499076472832?id=5668600916475904], a new activity to enable end users to exploit the multiple homeview feature, a new web service to upload Journal objects to PutLocker…

In the community

3. April in Paris: Save 12, 13 April 2014 for SugarCamp Paris. Lionel Laské will be sharing more details in the coming weeks.

Tech Talk

Lots of gifts from the community:

4. Aura Mora, Felipe, Luis Felipe, and students of ICESI University developed a game around Values (See the Valorar Activity [http://activities.sugarlabs.org/es-ES/sugar/addon/4721]).

5. Lionel Laské announced the second version of his prototype of Sugarizer, Sugar in a web page (See http://sugarizer.org). This version now include the list view of the home, datastore handling, popup menu on activities, and journal view.

6. Bert Freudenberg developed SqueakJS, a new Squeak VM that runs on Javascript (See [http://croquetweak.blogspot.de/2013/12/squeakjs-lively-squeak-vm.html]).

Sugar Labs

6. Please visit our planet [http://planet.sugarlabs.org].

Sugar Digest 2013-12-06

Sugar Digest

1. A typical evening on the #sugar irc channel:

[19:59] * walterbender heads to dinner... no more reviews for a few hours
[20:00] <Foo> I'm tired :P
[20:00] <Bar> By the way, How old are you
[20:00] <Foo> Bar, 14 :P
[20:00] <Bar> oh, I am 10
[20:00] <Foo> :)
[20:00] <Foo> mini hacker :P
[20:01] <Bar> :)
[20:01] <Bar> lol
[20:01] <Foo> :P
[20:02] <Bar> So besides this, what do you do for fun?
[20:02] <Foo> in linux? None :P
[20:03] <Foo> Programming in python is fun :)
[20:03] <Foo> In windows play games (WoW)
[20:03] <Bar> Oh nice, I play ambit of Wow
[20:03] <Foo> :P
[20:03] <Bar> a bit lol
[20:03] <Foo> I didn't like lol
[20:03] <Foo> (Its #OT)
[20:04] <Bar> lol? the key or the game xD
[20:04] <Foo> the game :P
[20:06] <Bar> lol, I ment I play a bit of Wow, so I said a bit lol since I said ambit wow
[20:06] <Foo> :P
[20:06] <Bar> xD
[20:06] <Foo> what are building now?
[20:07] <Bar> umm.
[20:07] <Foo> dnarvaez, I founded a bug in sugar-build
[20:07] <Bar> So far Volo
[20:08] <Foo> Bar, ok
[20:10] <Foo> dnarvaez, http://sugarlabs.org/~ignacio/Archivos/Volume1.png
[20:10] <Foo> http://sugarlabs.org/~ignacio/Archivos/Volume.png
[20:14] <Bar> how big is karma?
[20:14] <Foo> I don't know
[20:22] <Bar> Foo, so far I am at the Sugar tool kit
[20:44] <Foo> Bar, works?
[20:48] <Bar> yup
[20:49] <Foo> Bar, if you need more help, sent me a mail

1. Free software gives its users the license to make changes. Sugar tries to go a step further. It gives its users the means to make changes. And there is evidence that in fact our users do make changes.

2. I got off the plane from Malaysia just in time to get on line for the start of Google Code In. We’ve been at it two and 1/2 weeks and we have almost 70 tasks completed by 29 participants. (There are many more students working on their first task.)

3. Had a chance to visit some old friends and colleagues in Brazil last week, Jose Valente and Cecilia Baranauskas. I gave the keynote at CBIE 2013 at UNICAMP and had a chance to talk about Sugar and pedagogy. Because it was Thanksgiving week, I could not resist showing a picture of Bernie in front of a table full of pies. I then explained the Thanksgiving tradition of family, friends, and food. I bake special pies and cakes for Thanksgiving and I use tools that I only take out for special occasions. These tools are on a high shelf in my kitchen. So I have to reach for them. Those of you who know me, know that my coffee maker is an everyday tool, so it lives in a place of honor on a low shelf, where I have easy access. What should be on every learner’s low shelf? What should be ready at hand? I spent the rest of the talk arguing that programming should be on every learner’s low shelf.

In the community

4. Many thanks to Danishka Navin, Jeff Plaman, and the faculty at [https://www.uwcsea.edu.sg UWCSEA], where we held a Turtle Art Day on November 15. A classroom full of fifth graders spent their morning programming. I quote on of the students below:

:”In a program called Sugar we learnt to make lots of different patterns by commanding the turtle to do things. E.g. Arc 90o and go forward. Using this we could create many different things including paint which you could control using your voice! I really enjoyed it because I never knew something so complicated could be really fun and quite simple as using a comande [SIC]! I never thought I could be quite capable of doing something like that.”

Lunch was Indian food from the cafeteria, including freshly baked nan. If food was that good when I was in school, I may have been more attentive.

The afternoon was spent in discussions with teachers about pedagogy and strategy for introducing/leveraging Sugar in both UWCSEA and the various programs that the students encounter through their community service efforts. One attraction of Sugar is that it presents a level playing field.

That evening we piled into a van and drove to Malacca.

5. TK Kang organized [http://olpcbasecamp.blogspot.com/ olpc BaseCamp @ Malacca 2013] from November 16 to 18. We met up with many old friends (Bernie, whom I never see in Cambridge, was in Malacca). We spent a lot of time with both turtle and pedagogy. I ran a very fast-paced workshop and then joined a thoughtful discussion of next steps in outreach to and support for teachers. Jeff will be organizing a regular series of learning team meetings for people in the region (East Asia) to complement the meeting we hold in Spanish in the West.

At both events, I was able to distribute USB keys with Sugar on a Stick preloaded, thanks to the generosity of http://nexcopy.com and http://recycleusb.com

Tech Talk

6. Flavio Danesse shared the [https://sites.google.com/site/pythonjoven/ Python Joven site] with me. I am super impressed and super jealous of their cool logo.

7. Please visit the [[0.100/Testing]] page for Sugar set up by Gonzalo.

8. Aleksey Lim has set up a new [http://stats.sugarlabs.org/activities.sugarlabs.org/ stats server] for Sugar.

Sugar Labs

9. Please visit our [http://planet.sugarlabs.org planet].