1. I spent last week in Miami participating in a “vacation camp” at the Holmes Elementary School in Liberty City for 3rd and 4th graders. The camp was organized by David Jessep and participants include Melissa Henriquez, Reuben Caron, Dan Lee, and Claudia Urrea. The Holmes laptop program, which is sponsored by the Knight Foundation, is challenging in that the school had been under performing by the Florida state metrics, so the typical class day is now quite structured. So there is very little unscheduled classroom time. The vacation camp presented an opportunity for the children to spend some informal time with their laptops and, for the first time, bring them home.
Melissa ran a Scratch workshop while I ran–no surprise–a Turtle Art workshop. In both workshops, the children were given a few warm-up exercises and then set off in small groups to do projects of their own choosing. For the Turtle Art group, I had them do the usual: one child volunteered to be the turtle and the other children instructed it in how to move about the room. Then they explored the turtle, pen, and color palettes. In our second session, I introduced a few new locks, including some of the multimedia and sensor blocks. We then designed an alarm clock of sorts: the children helped each other use the Record activity to take a picture pretending to be sleeping and a second picture, with a started from sleep expression. They taught their turtles to display the “asleep” pictures and then polled the loudness block, waiting for a conditional block to be triggered by a loud sound. At this point, the “startled awake” picture was displayed.
From there, the children went in many different directions, but one theme, dance, spread throughout the group. They began taking pictures of themselves in different dance positions and then using Turtle Art to animate their moves. Some of them incorporated sound and additional turtle graphics. One child, taking his own path, used sensors from the WeDo to control the speed of a motor. All of them wrote about their work in their Journals and used the Portfolio activity to make presentations to their parents at the end of the week. Pretty awesome stuff.
2. For reasons yet to be determined, once again we were turned down for Google Summer of Code.
In the community
3. There will be a OLPC/Sugar documentation sprint from April 6-10 at the OLPC headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Please contact Adam Holt if you are interested in participating, either in person or on line.
4. There will be an eduJAM! in the week of May 7-12 in Montevideo. Details to follow.
5. The week following eduJAM! will be a Squeakfest, also in Montevideo (May 16-18).
6. There is a new Etoys release candidate (5.0.2402 candidate 1) available for download. Enhancements of note include:
- single stepping in scripts
- attached watchers” following the object
- graph paper and number lines
- a scriptable calendar
- a sector object (e.g. for pie charts)
- ScratchConnect allows to connect Etoys and Scratch
Congratulations to Bert and the Etoys team!!
- The possibility to launch Base Software in heterogeneous software and hardware environments;
- Using Base Software, provide access to various Content (Sugar activities, artifacts created by Sugar activities, books, etc.) created within the Sugar community;
- Using Base Software, provide collaborative functionality to support Social activity around the Content;
- Instruments and workflows to adapt Content and Base Software to specific needs that Sugar Deployment might face, including extreme ones like off-line environments and restricting hardware.
Gary Martin has generated SOMs from the past few weeks of discussion on the IAEP mailing list:
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