Sugar Network/Declaration of purpose

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The Sugar Network declaration of purpose.
(based on Heilmeier's Catechism)

  1. What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
    1. The convenient and well integrated, to the Sugar, environment to share various types of content created or introduced by Sugar Network participants. Such as Sugar Activities, content created by Sugar Activities, documentation and educational materials, etc.
    2. Provide (1.1), but with different latencies, on several Network levels, i.e., online access to the Internet, access to the school network with possible (but not mandatory) access to the Internet, offline case when Sugar Network participant has only his computer.
    3. Supplement (1.1) on all Network levels (1.2) with social network features when Sugar Network participants can ask questions, propose ideas, complain about problems and express opinions regarding the content found in the Sugar Network.
    4. Sharing content (1.1), using social functionality (1.3) and integrated reporting features, such as users behaviour statistics, it will be possible to provide educational support on all Network levels (1.2).
    5. Using social functionality (1.3) and integrated automatic fail reporting functionality, it will be possible to provide technical support, e.g., from Sugar Activity authors or from Sugar deployment personal.
  2. How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
    1. In comparing to (1.1). There are several resources for Sugar, and, educational in general, content. Such as Activity Library, several methods to get to get Sugar Activities that are integrated to the Sugar Shell, various Wikis, services placed on school servers (starting from Moodle and ending with ure HTML pages that serves Sugar Activity bundles. The users experience is too different from source to source. Besides, these sources might be not friendly to students, e.g., it will require creating an account (with specifying email address), be too technical like sugar mailing lists. In most cases they are poorly integrated to the Sugar desktop environment.
    2. In comparing to (1.2). The richest resources are all located in the Internet, but Internet access is not chip and wide for all Sugar deployments, and might be simply absent. If some resources are accessible on school servers, it might be not integrated to the global Sugar community. To support offline workflow, students need to do routine work, e.g., copying Sugar Activity bundles from the Internet or school's server to the Journal. And as (2.1) points, on all levels the users experience is different.
    3. In comparing to (1.3). The existing ways to discuss the content within the Sugar community is either limitted or too basic. There is the Activity Library, but people can post only reviews (not questions, ideas or problems). To report a bug they need to login to bugs.sugarlabs.org. To ask question or share ideas, they need to subscribe to mailing lists. All these resources are located in the Internet (2.2). And mostly not friendly for students at all (2.1). Besides, some resources located on school servers might not allow any collaboration and content uploading at all, i.e., pure HTML page to download Sugar Activity bundles. And as (2.1) says, the users experience is too different from resource to resource.
    4. In comparing to (1.4). Sugar Shell's functionality is pretty basic in case of providing support for educational related needs. There should plenty of ways to make Sugar Learning environment more integrated to the educational process.
    5. In comparing to (1.5). It is mostly impossible to get feedback from students, that use Sugar Activities in the field, on bugs.sugarlabs.org on mailing lists, partially because of lack of Internet connection (2.1) and partially because these resources are too technical (2.2). Besides, there is no convenient and direct (between users and Activity developers) ways to share technical information when Sugar Activity fails.
  3. What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
    1. To solve (2.1) and accomplish (1.1). Sugar Network is not intended to replace all existing (2.1) resources, but rather get singular and unified access point to the same resources from the Sugar Network Browser application that is well integrated to the Sugar desktop environment. It should be friendly to students, i.e., instead of going to bugs.sugarlabs.org, creating an account there, create new ticket with possibility to set bunch of technical fields (like targeting release, OS, etc), a student needs to open Sugar Network Browser, find the targeting activity and type the problem (just the text). Or, to launch Sugar Activity, a student should not browse Activity Library, school server, or Wikis, just click it in Sugar Network Browser.
    2. To solve (2.2) and accomplish (1.2). On all network accessibility levels (online, school, offline), people use the same Sugar Network Browser (3.1). The only differences are: being online, people see the full picture; being connected to school network, people see the picture that is a snapshot of the full picture (that is being updated from time to time); being offline, e.g., switching from online of from school network, people see only resources they marked as persistent manually.
    3. To solve (2.3) and accomplish (1.3). Still, it is the same Sugar Network Browser (3.1). On all network accessibility (3.2) levels, people can share content created by themselves, ask questions, share ideas, complain about problem, etc. for all accessible resources in their Browser. After increasing network accessibility level, e.g., connecting to the school server after being offline, all new changes will be merged to the upper level.
    4. To solve (2.4) and accomplish (1.4). Still, it is the same Sugar Network Browser (3.1). Teachers will get a channel to share methodological materials, track how their students behave within the Sugar Network, get access to users behaviour statistics, to accomplish various educational related needs.
    5. To solve (2.5) and accomplish (1.5). Still, it is the same Sugar Network Browser (3.1). After clicking the Sugar Activity and getting its fail, the error dialog might show the button "Share the report", then, nothing else from user's point of view. Activity developer will get this repost immediately (depending on network accessibility level). Besides, people can ask questions, share ideas, complain about problems, all this information is accessible for developers.
  4. Who cares?
    1. Students
    2. Teachers
    3. Local deployment supporters
    4. The Sugar community that can help all previous categories of Sugar Network participants, e.g. software developers or educators.
  5. If you're successful, what difference will it make?
    1. For students (4.1). The central place to get convenient access to various content (Sugar Activities, Journal objects, Wiki articles). The content might be mostly the same that might be found in the Internet but on different resources. The additional (for online case) and convenient tool to support social activities (regarding Sugar Network objects) to share ideas and complains regarding particular resources to collaborate with other people.
    2. For teachers (4.2). Sugar Network is the right place to share various methodical materials and have educators only level discussions. Potentially, Sugar Network might be well tuned regarding educational process.
    3. For local deployment supporters (4.3). More convenient way to provide remote support for people at schools, especially for offline schools.
    4. For Sugar community (4.4). People will get a chance to have direct feedback from the field, including auto generated reports about software fails.
  6. What are the risks and the payoffs?
    The idea might be evolved during the process of implementation. But for sure, there are a problem (2) and it should be solved. Any doing in this direction should be useful, even if original intention will be shifted.
  7. How much will it cost?
    The cost will include funding Sugar Network developers and researchers, processing pilot program(s). The original work is started within the Puno pilot program. The idea is looking for local funds, but it is still in progress.
  8. How long will it take?
    One year should be enough to release Sugar Network 1.0 version that will be ready to use on regular basis.
  9. What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success?
    1. For midterm, the Browser application might be even absent, it will be an application that provide very limited functionality that Sugar Network should provide for 1.0 release. But the one thing should work, a network (within pilot schools) of Sugar Network servers (as school servers) with set up procedure to synchronize them between each over and with the central Sugar Network server.
      • People at school should be able to type their feedback.
      • The Sneakernet/Internet synchronization should deliver this feedback to the central Sugar Network server.
      • Support people will see this feedback.
    2. For final stage, the server side and Sugar Network browser should be polished and work in reliable manner.
      • A student being at school, opens Sugar Network Browser to:
      • Launch any activity that can be accessible via Sugar Network (potentially all activities uploaded to the Activity Library);
      • On Activity fail, student easily share the technical information about the fail that will be visible for Activity developers;
      • Share Journal objects created by launched Activity;
      • Create a Wiki article;
      • Post to the Sugar Network a question, idea, problem or review regarding the Sugar Activity, Journal object or Wiki page;
      • Sugar Activity, Reports, Journal objects, Wiki and reports, are accessible within the Sugar Network, school level and the global one;
      • Some Activities and Wiki pages, student mark as persistent to work in offline;
      • Being offline at home, he can do the same as he did at school;
      • After visiting the school, all changes made at home will be automatically merged to the Sugar Network and regular work begins.