2017 Goals

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Sugar Labs goals for 2017.

[This is a draft based on proposals made on the IAEP email thread started on April 9th plus the goals identified on 2016.]

[See Sugar Labs Goals for another shared editing document started in that thread.]

Mission

[Our Mission is the responsibility of the Board; any changes to the Mission must be passed by the Board. Here is the Mission from the Board in May 2017:]

Sugar Labs is a volunteer-run project whose mission is to reach global learners and educators with a collection of tools that enable them to explore, discover, create, and reflect in their local language. Sugar Labs distributes these tools freely and encourages its users to appropriate them, taking ownership and responsibility for their learning.

Vision

[To be defined. See also Vision proposal 2016.]

Template: Goals, Objectives & Actions

[A template to copy and paste when adding a new goal.]

Goal: X : [a broad statement about what the program or initiative intends to accomplish. It is also the intended long-term outcome.]

  • Objective: [expected achievements that are well-defined, specific, measurable, and derived from the goal(s).]
  • Action: [efforts conducted to achieve the objectives.]
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example

Goals, Objectives & Actions

[Can someone take what is listed on 2016 Goals and plug them into the goals, objectives and actions on this page for the year?]


Goal: Continue to develop, distribute, and maintain Sugar as a free/libre learning platform on GNU/Linux platforms and to work with the distributors of those platforms to promote Sugar for education.

  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Work with Trisquel Maintain communication with Trisquel developers and collaborate on a way to promote free/libre tools for education ?? Needs a volunteer  ??  ??
Workshop with Raspberry Pi Foundation Initiate contact with Raspberry Pi Education Coordinator to cohost workshops showcasing free/libre tools for education ?? Needs a volunteer  ??  ??
Port Sugar to Raspian Port Sugar to Raspian ?? Needs a volunteer  ??  ??
Write an article for the Free Software Foundation Write a guest blog post about the Sugar desktop pointing to ways volunteers can help with development ?? Needs a volunteer  ??  ??
Participate in Mini-Maker Faires Host a booth andor workshop at several Mini-Maker Faires ?? Needs a volunteer  ??  ??
  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example


Goal: Develop, distribute, and maintain a variety of Sugarizer Apps and installations for as many devices as possible.

  • Objective: Enhance user experience for Sugarizer Apps
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Login experience Add a full login experience for Sugarizer users connected to a Server  ?  ?  ?  ?
Add Fototoon activity Port Fototoon activity to Sugarizer  ?  ?  ?  ?
Package as Flatpak Make Sugarizer available for GNU/Linux operating systems as a Flatpak download Downloads  ? 12th April 2017 Example
Package as MacOS Make Sugarizer available on MacOS App Store Store  ?  ?  ?
  • Objective: Create a full package to deploy easily Sugarizer in schools
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Create a dashboard tool Create a Dashboard tools to allow teachers/admin to administrate a deployment. See [1] GSoC student GSoC student  ?  ?
Create a deployment tool Create a deployment tools for Sugarizer OS to easily deploy/manage devices. See [2] GSoC student GSoC student  ?  ?
  • Objective: Actively recruit and maintain developers for Sugarizer
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Make the platform easier for developers to contribute Example Examples Example Example Example


Goal: Maintain and promote various related stand-alone projects that supports free/libre and Constructionist Learning

  • Objective: Increase awareness of learners and learning communities for Music Blocks and Turtle Art
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example
  • Objective: Maintain development and documentation of Music Blocks and Turtle Art
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Quarterly updates/pruning on the documentation for Music Blocks and Turtle Art Example Examples Example Example Example


Goal: Develop, distribute and maintain a series of school server versions for use where reliable internet service is not possible.

  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example
  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example


Goal: To sponsor any motivated, active individuals in need to continue doing the best they can to support our mission.

  • Objective: Support individuals at the high school and college level with financial incentives, more importantly mentorship.
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Participate as an organization in Google Summer of Code Example Examples Example Example Example
Participate as an organization in Google Code-in Example Examples Example Example Example
  • Objective: Provide funding to individuals to create and/or maintain ongoing projects in their given communities.
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example

Goal: Sugar and related software must be developed with “internationalization” (i18n) capabilities built in from the onset, thereby allowing translation of the user interface into many languages by our diverse “localization” (L10n) community. Lack of i18n means an inability to share.

  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example
  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example


Goal: Secure and distribute our servers and systems.

  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example
  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example


Goal: To maintain domains and trademarks.

  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example
  • Objective:
Action Item Description Resources Committee/Volunteer Date Started Date Completed
Examples Example Examples Example Example Example

Context

[A current and historical context to guide the goals, objectives and actions listed above. This text is modified from what Walter Bender posted on sugar-devel@ in response to request.]

What is Sugar Labs?

Sugar Labs creates, distributes, and maintains learning software for children. The project's approach to learning is grounded in Constructionism, a pedagogy developed by Seymour Papert and his colleagues in the 1960s and 70s at MIT. Papert pioneered the use of the computer by children to help engage them in the “construction of knowledge.” His long-time colleague Cynthia Solomon expanded up his ideas by introducing the concept of engaging children in debugging as a pathway into problem-solving. Their 1971 paper, “Twenty things to do with a computer” [Reference needed here], is arguably the genesis of contemporary movements such as the Maker Movement and Hour of Code.

At the core of Constructionism is “learning through doing.” If you want more learning, you want more doing. At Sugar Labs we provide tools to promote doing. However, we go beyond “doing” by incorporating critical dialog and reflection into the Sugar learning environment, through mechanisms for collaboration, journaling, and portfolio.

Sugar Labs has inherited many of its goals from the OLPC project. The goal of OLPC is to bring the ideas of Constructionism to scale in order to reach more children. A particular focus is on children in the developing world [Reference needed here]. In order to meet that goal, Sugar, which was originally developed for OLPC, was by necessity a small-footprint solution that required few resources in terms of CPU, memory, storage, or network connectivity. The major technical change on focus from the OLPC project is that Sugar Labs strives to make the Sugar desktop available to multiple platforms, not just the OLPC hardware. The major ethical challenge Sugar Labs has is to keep supporting with high quality software and equivalent tools to the OLPC ecosystem.

Sugar Labs® is a volunteer-driven member project of Software Freedom Conservancy. Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) is a not-for-profit charity that helps promote, improve, develop, and defend Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects. Conservancy provides a non-profit home and infrastructure for FLOSS projects. This allows FLOSS developers to focus on what they do best — writing and improving FLOSS for the general public — while Conservancy takes care of the projects' needs that do not relate directly to software development and documentation.

Sugar Labs® is supported by donations and is constantly seeking funding to accelerate development of Sugar. We do occasionally raise money for paid student internships as well.

As with any other non profit, the practice of charity means the voluntary giving of help to those in need, as a humanitarian act.

Who develops Sugar?

Sugar is not a 100% volunteer effort. The OLPC project has supported many developers along Sugar's history and many initiatives to allocate resources to support professional services (such are Activity Central, OLPC Australia, etc) have been tried. In the same way, many of the packages that make doable a Sugar distribution are re-cycled from other libre software projects that may or may not be the results of volunteers efforts.

Sugar development and maintenance is incumbent upon its community and hence we strive to provide as much control as possible to our community members, including our end-users. Towards these ends, we chose the GPL as our primary license. Support of Sugar and Sugar Activities core packages is coordinated at the Development mailing list [Reference required here].

We also strive to provide the means to make changes. Our success in this goal is best reflected in the number of patches we receive from our Community. (We achieve this goal through providing access to source code and development tools within Sugar itself. We also actively participate in workshops and internship programs such as Sugar Camps, Google Summer of Code, Outreaching, and Google Code-In.)

Who uses Sugar?

Sugar is marketed as software usable by Children. Ultimately, our goal is to reach learners from all ages with powerful tools and engage them in Constructionist learning. Currently we reach them in many ways: the majority of our users get the Sugar desktop preinstalled on OLPC hardware. We have a more modest set of users who get Sugar packaged in Fedora, Trisquel, Debian, Ubuntu, or other GNU/Linux platforms. Some users get Sugar on Live Media (i.e., Sugar on a Stick). Recently Sugarizer, a repackaging of some of the core Sugar ideas for the browser, has been finding its way to some users. There are also a number of Sugar activities that are popular outside of the context Sugar itself, for example, Turtle Blocks, which has wide-spread use in India. Harder to measure is the extent to which Sugar has influenced other providers of “educational” software. If the Sugar pedagogy is incorporated by others, that advances our goal.

Who supports Sugar?

A very cool team of volunteers takes care of our infrastructure such as the wikis, mailing lists, code repositories, localization platforms, etc.

Organizational rules and financials are constantly crafted by the team at the Sugar Labs Oversight Board.

Sugar Labs was envisioned as a supporting platform for multiple “Local Labs”—hence the name “Sugar Labs”, plural—support in terms of local-language localization, training documentation and customizations. This model is growing slowly as there are some active local communities (e.g., Educa Paraguay, OLPC France, Sugar Labs Colombia and Sugar Labs Perú) that continuously work closely with their communities while contributing to the upstream project.

There are also individual volunteers, such as Tony Anderson and T.K. Kang, who help support individual schools in Rwanda and Malaysia. Our diverse ecosystem of doers has lead to a set of friendly experimental prototypes that extend Sugar functionalities to end users such as Sugar Network (that provides a feedback channel among users and developers) and Sugarizer (An evolution of the Sugar Web initiatives that provides the Sugar learning experience via web and stand alone applications).

An open question is what is needed to support our users and supporters over the long term?

What is next for Sugar?

We face several challenges at Sugar Labs. Since we are serving children's needs, with a particular focus on children in the developing world, we must adapt to their real needs as much as possible. Quality assurance for all our products must be an obsession.

With the ebb of OLPC, we have a contracting user base and the number of professional developers associated with the project is greatly diminished. How can we expand our user base? How can we keep our more experienced developers? Why would they want to work on Sugar as opposed to some other project? The meta issue is how do we keep Sugar relevant in a world of Apps and small, hand-held devices? Can we meet the expectations of learners living in a world of fast-paced, colorful interfaces? How do we ensure that it is fulfilling its potential as a learning environment? How do we ensure that it is fulfilling its potential as a collaboration tool?

Some of this is a matter of strategic planning; some of this is a matter of staying focused on our users real needs; some of this a matter of finding friendly coherent partners with whom we can work with.

Specific actions

After last year’s Libre Planet conference, several community members discussed a marketing strategy for Sugar. We thought that if we could reach influencers, we might be able to greatly amplify our efforts. There are several prominent bloggers and pundits in the education arena who are widely read and who might be receptive to what we are doing. One significant challenge is that GNU/Linux remains on the far periphery of the Ed Tech world. Although the “love affair” with all things Apple seems to be over, the new elephant in the room—Chromebooks and Google Docs—is equally difficult to co-exist with. Personally, I see the most potential synergy with the Maker movement, which is building up momentum in extra-curricular programs, where FOSS and GNU-Linux are welcome (hence my earlier focus on RPi). (There are even some schools that are building their entire curriculum around PBL.) We can and should develop and run some workshops that can introduce Sugar within the context of the Maker movement. (Toward that end, I have been working with some teachers on how to leverage, for example, Turtle Blocks for 3D printing.) It is very much a tool-oriented community with little overall discussion of architectural frameworks, so we have some work to do. But there is lots of low-hanging fruit there.

We have several near-term opportunities that we should leverage:

  • Raspian: The Raspberry Pi 3 is more than adequate to run Sugar—the experience rivals or exceeds that of the OLPC XO-4 hardware, though not the OLPC NL3 hardware. While Raspberry Pi is not the only platform we should be targeting, it does have broad penetration into the Maker community, which shares a synergy with our emphasis on “doing”. It is low-hanging fruit. With a little polish we could have an image available for download from the Raspberry Pi website.
  • Trisquel: We have the potential for better leveraging the Free Software Foundation as a vehicle for promoting Sugar. Their distro of choice is Trisquel and the maintainer does a great job of keep the Sugar packages up to date.
  • Sugarizer: The advantage of Sugarizer is that it has the potential of reaching orders of magnitude more users since it is web-based and runs in Android and iOS. There is some work to be done to make the experience palatable on small screens and the current development environment is—at least my opinion—not scalable or maintainable. The former is a formidable problem. The latter quite easy to address.
  • Stand-alone projects such as Music Blocks have merit as long as they maintain both a degree of connection with Sugar and promote the values of the community. It is not certain that these projects will lead users towards Sugar, but they do promote FOSS and Constructionist principles. And they have attracted new developers to the Sugar community.
  • School-server: The combination of the School Server and Sugar desktop is a technical solution to problems facing small and remote communities. We should continue to support and promote this combination.