Education Team

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The mission of the education team is to explain why Sugar is an ideal platform for learning, and to provide guidance and feedback to those who are working on how Sugar enhances learning.

We are said to be responsible for setting the Educational goals for the Sugar Community, but this says both too much and too little. In the long run, the children have to set their educational goals, rather than those whom the accidents of history and politics have put in power. Here are some things we can do:

  • Help to digest the very large and wide-ranging discussion about appropriate education theory (based on scientific study of children and adults, such as schoolteachers);
  • Start the discussion about appropriate education practice, based on scientific study of what works under various circumstances for what purposes;
  • Start the discussion about appropriate uses of computers in education, including software design, textbook redesign, and other content, and about what computers are good for in general;
  • Mediate between these desiderata and what is possible on the available and imminent hardware platforms, given the current and projected state of connectivity, rural electricity, the other issues and obstacles of poverty, and the current state of Sugar;
  • Share lots of examples of what works (and what doesn't)—along with a discussion of how and why.

Meeting venues

Walter Bender reports on Feb 1, 2013 that:

The "education team" meets weekly here [1], [2], [3].



[3] (2010)


See this 2011 September report:


Concretely, we want to reach three target audiences:

  1. existing OLPC deployments
  2. potential Sugar on a Stick deployments (classroom teachers, parents, community centers)
  3. potential non-OLPC netbook deployments (classroom teachers, parents)


I put this here because it is an addition, but I feel it should be the first bullet point Yamaplos 18:15, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Moved to new Means subsection --Walter 16:15, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Mailing Lists

Most people interested in the stated mission of the Education Team should take part in the IAEP ("It's An Education Project") Mailing List[1], whose archives[2] date from May 2008 and continue at least to the time of this writing, February 2013. - Docdtv 19:42, 1 February 2013 (EST)


We held an inaugural Education Team meeting on Friday, 6 March, at 15 UTC (10 EST) on #sugar-meeting but we realize that the meeting time was not ideal, especially for teachers. Please add your preferred meeting time to the list we are accumulating.

06 March 2009


If I may add, as a teacher, the vast numbers of teachers, at least in the US and Russia, that I have encountered, are not sufficiently interested/ skilled/ convinced that the tools you are offering, no matter how 'free and great' they may be will be of any use unless it is super simple.

Your words resonant deeply with what I wrote at the OLPC Wiki several years ago here.
I am gratified to see a working teacher speak eloquently to these issues, as you do.
- Docdtv

IRC chat lines? For teachers? You've got to be kidding... How many teachers do I know that don't how to SMS or even know what SMS means? IRC? You are speaking to a teeny tiny tiny fraction of teachers via that channel... Teachers are like most people, overworked, underpaid, and very conscious of _not wanting to create more work for themselves_. The way Sugar is being communicated _sounds like Sugar is more work_... but then again, most teachers don't want to hear what you are saying anyway...

Most teachers are just concerned with getting through the, very difficult, day. To get this project onto the minds of teachers then it must come from parents and students and admins telling teachers that this is what must happen. Teachers, for the most part, are unionized. They DON'T have to do anything once attaining tenure. Unions will protect the most incompetent do nothing teachers right up to sexual or physical abuse of a child. Constructivist Cognitive development is far down the list of concerns for a third year teacher. They probably have tenure by then. They may have come into teaching, full of energy and ready to make changes, thinking they'll do the right thing... after the third year, it's all about survival for the school year ahead...

I've personally offered to many teachers to set up LTSP networks for them and NOT ONE ever accepted the offer though the evidence of students' superior performance, better cognition and behavior, and superior skill set of the LTSP students versus all the other students was clearly evident. Most teachers _have no reason to change_, no matter how good something may be... if it is not perfectly prepackaged and EASY enough to give to a kid to do if they've finished their homework early...

student: "Ms. Johnson, I've finished my homework..."
Ms Johsnon: "OK, Johnny, see those laptops over there? Set them up with Sugar for tomorrow's class".

If Sugar is NOT that easy, then you'll only ever get a few hardcore "fighting for the good cause" teachers to use Sugar or any other computer platform. Essentially, though, if a teacher knows how to use a computer, they won't be working as teachers for very long...

To get Sugar in a class in the United States, at least, is going to come from private schools, and parents who are savvy enough to understand the arcane language of most of this site...The opening line on this page would leave most teachers scratching their heads. The writer's of that document expected what, someone who knows what 'OLPC-XO laptop' or 'Gnu/Linux' or any of that means? They want step 1, 2, 3 done. Don't scare them off with a lot of technical background and geekified mumbo-jumbo! And all that talk about downloading and burning .ISOs and formatting USBs... please. Your target audience (the teachers) is terrified of computers and technology.

If this project wants deeper acceptance in the community then show that it is CHILD'S PLAY to get it working. One click install and walkaway. If you have to stay with SOAS, then get a video of a kid performing the process of setting up Sugar on a Stick. But even that will get adults to say something like... "Oh, those kids today, I could never do that!" I've heard that, from teachers!

I try to document your claims with an essay on K-6 computing created early 2009 here.
I also try to stoke envy among parents, making generous use of Youtube video. - Docdtv

Most importantly, to get Sugar traction in schools, make it easy for kids to publish their genius works via video and etc. Get screencasting as part of nearly every activity. Hook on to youtube's API or vimeo's API or something like that so that kids will show other kids how __cool__ they are... Adults want Sugar because it should make their kids smarter better problem solvers, more likely to survive the hard world, etc. The real trick is to _make kid's want Sugar_. It can be done a lot of ways but the biggest reason for kids is because it can help them generate/build/maintain/ grow/improve their 'cool' factor among their friends at their schools. How? By posting their latest SUGAR success on a publicly available media channel i.e. youtube, vimeo, etc. for all their very hip and connected friends to see online.

Look at the Youtube videos produced by kids doing their work. It's clearly evident that they are doing the 'hard stuff' of thinking and problem solving because at the end, at least for some/most, their friends will say, "Cool!".

I recently came back to look at SL after a long hiatus to check on progress. Almost
the first thing I did was add Marketing_Team#Video_channels to proposed marketing
projects, which reiterates your call for videos, especially anxiety-stilling demos.
(I was told there is a "religious" objection to using YouTube, despite its marvelous
SYNDICATION potential, since it does not use an open codec, as does Daily motion. I
answered that SL should be THANKFUL if someone downloads any Daily motion videos SL
creates and transcodes them for reposting on YouTube as well!) It really starts to
sound like you should work on the Marketing Team. - Docdtv 02:40, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Let's make it easy for kids to get that cool factor using Sugar... then Sugar will get traction among the very complacent teachers...

in the meantime make it easy for the motivated

A wubi like dual boot option at startup with a simple downloader tool that pulls the needed Sugar parts onto the harddrive so that those who have old Windows machines can pull a Wubi like Sugar install and walk away while it does its thing... SoaS is a great idea but way too labor intensive (and temperamental in my experience) for anyone thinking big like 30+ machines old Windows machines, which by the way are cheap and widely available. And, as noted on the IRC, USB sticks are notoriously temperamental and prone to corruption.

Soas thoughts

I can hear the students now... "My USB stick ate my homework!" And then the parents start calling. And the administrators get involved... no teacher wants those kinds of variables in their class and will actively work against such chaos. There's chaos enough in the classroom without malfunctioning technology... right? Work some tech magic, if there is an internet connection then rsync or whatever the students' last changed work. Google Gears? Some other subscription animal? Make that an option... bluetooth it where possible into common file names. Something, anything, to back up the student work as grades are riding on that work... and parents and administrators go BALLISTIC/POSTAL when a student gets a bad grade because they didn't turn 'in their work because the XYZ techno system didn't work'. I've been at the front of a few of those blasts and its enough to want to quit teaching... who needs the hassle? Again, this is why computers have not been embraced in the classroom. Too many variables not enough reason to introduce all of this chaos, the costs out weigh the benefits.

Go run a working school computer lab one for awhile, talk to a public school administrator... you'll know/hear what I'm talking about. Noone willingly creates more work for themselves unless they see it saves gobs of energy or time elsewhere or blows test scores out of the water... SoaS doesn't offer any of that yet, IMHO.

What is it with flash-based thumb drives? In the previous decade, I went through
several of them as they successively died off in turn. This led to the practice
of using a PAIR, so that when one dies, the "RAIDed twin" provides a fail-safe.
Some people recommend periodic reformatting as a means to obviate failures. Has
the problem finally been solved? I have not had a disaster for a long time now.
- Docdtv

Make Sugar homework safe, easy to use, and keep it simple for Aunt Tilly to understand and install.


The ideal school computer set up is easy to install,minimizes variables, and maximizes ease of use and power. --Dennis Daniels 15:36, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

See also