Archive/Current Events/2011-12-07

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Sugar Digest

1. The Oversight Board (SLOB) election results are in. Congratulations to new board members Chris Leonard and Gerald Ardito. I am very pleased that they will be joining the board as they broaden our perspective and will help Sugar Labs be better tuned to the needs of our users. You'll also be stuck with me for another term. I'll do my best to help steer Sugar Labs towards ever more relevance to the learning and education communities.

Thanks too to Sridhar Dhanapalan, Laura Victoria Vargas, Nick Doiron, and David Farning for making the effort to run for a board seat. It is a sign of dedication to the project and much appreciated.

Luke Faraone deserves our thanks for once again organizing the solicitation of new members and running the election itself. It would be great if we could get a heads start on next year by inviting more of our user community, e.g., teachers, to join Sugar Labs. Please spread the word. Also, anyone who would like to help Luke on the membership committee should please contact him directly.

My apologies to two community members who were unable to vote because their ballots were rejected by their mail hosts. We are discussing with Mako Hill how best to deal with this issue (in a more timely fashion) for next year's election.

Finally, a word of thanks to Bernie and Mel, our two departing board members. Both of them have made numerous contributions to the project and its governance. Bernie has been a tireless advocate for decentralization of authority on the theory that the intelligence is in the leaves. Mel has been a stickler for clarity of process. Together, they have made Sugar Labs a better project. I look forward to their continued contributions as community members.

2. Last week was Sugar Camp Lima organized by Somosazucar. From all reports, Laura and Sebastian did a great job organizing the gather. Chris Leonard reports that there was great start made on Aymara and Quechua during the camp (Please see Aymara (Aru) and Quechua (Cusco-Collao)). Rubén Rodríguez posted a detailed summary of the progress he made on Trisquel (TOAST) during the camp, including the locale support for aym_PE and quz_PE. Bernie Innocenti traveled to Puno to help with a variety of logistical and infrastructure issues. Everyone sung the praises of Aleksey Lim (alsroot) who seems to be everywhere at once, helping people solve problems. We have a real community of doers!

3. Trinidad Guzman continues to amaze. Check out his latest video of his work with Turtle Art and sensors on the XO.

4. Carlos Rabassa posted a link to a fun game, Circle the Cat in the context of a question he posed to the list: "Why couldn´t all educational applications be as simple to use as this one?" My glib response was to quote the French mathematician, Blaise Pascal:

Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.

In other words, reaching to simplicity takes time and effort. Alan Kay chimed in about Hypercard, reminding us that it took years of refinement for it to reach its polished state. It is an open debate as to if and when Sugar will ever reach that level of polish and the path towards achieving it.

But while Carlos did not want to discuss the value of Circle the Cat as an educational program, to not do so seems to skirt the central question of Sugar: it is an education project after all!! I am interested in how we can use a simple game or activity to drive the children to deeper principles. So I wrote a Sugar Activity inspired by Circle the Cat, but with a twist: The user is invited to experiment with the algorithm (Please see Turtle in a Pond)--of course I had to use a turtle instead of a cat. The game itself is fun to play and arguably of some educational benefit. But there is perhaps more to learn from algorithm development. For better or for worse, the user needs to load their algorithms written in Python from their Sugar Journal. This probably precludes the younger children from experimenting, but it presents an open-ended invitation to those willing to take the challenge.

Tech Talk

5. Simon Schampijer led a discussion of the new features proposed for Sugar 0.96. A summary of the discussion is found on the 0.96/Feature_List page.

Sugar Labs

Gary Martin has generated SOMs from the past few weeks of discussion on the IAEP mailing list.

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