Sugar Digest 2008-11-04

Sugar Digest

1. Peru by the numbers: It has only been a few months, but the early indications are quite positive regarding the one-to-one laptop program in Peru.

  • 40013 computers delivered to students and teachers
  • 2140 teachers of 569 educational institutions trained
  • 100000 computers in the process of delivery
  • 8000 teachers in training process
  • 150000 computers will be delivered in 2009

A preliminary survey of students of primary schools in rural areas suggests:

Evidence of increased motivation

  • The students care about what they are doing.
  • The students feel the endeavor to learn more and discover new experiences is worthwhile.
  • The students experience a high degree of interest in attending school.
  • The students feel the satisfaction of doing something they like.
  • The students feel the joy discovering.

Evidence of a new relationship to learning

  • The students feel an increased creative tension because they feel that should and need to learn.
  • The students feel an increased responsibility to be attentive and disciplined in class.
  • The students are “committing themselves”—facing the challenge of new knowledge.
  • The students are cognizant that they “have a lot more to learn and what they know is” not sufficient.
  • The students have a remarkable rapprochement with their teachers.
  • The students have an increased confidence and security and an improvement in their interpersonal relationships.
  • The students feel that their opinions and ideas are important.
  • The students are free to decide what to do and show more initiative and creativity.

Evidence of academic achievement

  • Improved reading comprehension with respect to national standards.

It is too soon to tease out all of the factors that have contributed to this changes, but unequivocally, the children of Peru are seizing the opportunity. I look forward to more comprehensive data from the field.

2. Questioning “General” Education: Marvin Minsky has written another essay in his series about how our computers could help to advance our children’s educational development. The new essay begins with a quote from George Pólya.

It is better to solve one problem five different ways, than to solve five different problems one way.

See Memo 4. Previous essays are at Minsky Essays.

3. Knight News Challenge: Sugar Labs applied for four Knight Foundation grants (all four are linked to from the Deployment page).

Community jams, meetups, and meetings

4. OLPC France: Lionel Laské announced OLPC CodeCamp in Paris on 15 November (See CodeCamp). Five workshops are planned:

  • Sugar: development and experimentation on Sugar/Python;
  • School Server: setting up and test of school server on multiple platform (standard PC, Booba server, CherryPal, etc.);
  • Mono: development of new activities using Mono;
  • Pedagogic usage: Feedbacks from Haiti, Ethiopia and Palestine deployment; Brainstorming with French teachers to find usage and class activity;
  • French localization: French translators will work all the days to translate in French, Sugar, activities and FLOSS manual.

5. Sugar camp: There will be a gathering in Cambridge, MA the week of 17 November (See proposal).

Tech Talk

6. 0.84 Release cycle: Simon Schampijer and the release team have gotten the Sucrose Development 0.83.1 Release out the door (See 0,83.1). This is the first of the 0.84 cycle. The code base has seen many refactoring efforts: To improve performance several heavy shell dependencies have been dropped; the Journal and the shell service have been merged into the shell. The datastore has been rewritten (simplified) to improve maintainability while keeping the same API in place. We are now using Gconf to store the Sugar profile. Some enhancements have been made to the clipboard to provide visual consistency with the Sugar environment. Also, Sugar modules are being marked as STABLE / UNSTABLE / DEPRECATED (See API Policy). And of course many many bugs have been fixed. Thanks to all who have been contributing to this new release.

7. Network Manager: Simon and Marco Pesenti Gritti have been working on the integration of NM 0.7 into Sugar. This will be of particular importance to facilitating network connectivity on non-OLPC-XO-1 platforms.

8. Usability testing : Carlos Mauro has been working on a measurement of usability and the development of a standard process for measurement for Sugar and Sugar Activities.

9. Presence service: A new release of Presence Service is available (source). Enhancements include improved interoperability with non-Sugar clients and integration with gconf.

10. Browse-100: Simon, Marco, and Tomeu Vizoso are happy to announce the 100th version of the Browse Activity! New features include better download/upload support. (Note: Browse-100 is dependent on the latest hulahop v0.4.7).

Sugar Labs

11. Self-organizing map (SOM): Gary Martin has generated another SOM from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see SOM).

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