Archive/Current Events/2012-03-22

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Sugar Digest

Quote of the week: Who dares to teach must never cease to learn. -- John Cotton Dana

1. Sugar in Sri Lanka? In late 2007 I had had some meetings with the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States about launching an OLPC program. But I lost touch after I left OLPC to start Sugar Labs. I had heard that at least some small number of laptops had gone to Sri Lanka, but I wasn't aware of any detail. But tonight I saw an article written by Dharma Sri Abeyratne in the Sri Lanka News describing an on-going project that sounds quite interesting: "The Colombo University Information Technology Faculty and open source software developers have supported the software developing process. Over 850 software programmes relating to the curriculum from year one to five is issued with the laptops." I can only assume they are talking about Sugar. Over 850 software programs? Are these Sugar activities? Many would be new to me. Does anyone know whom to contact to find out more about what they are doing at Colombo University?

2. I was in Peru last week and had an opportunity to meet with the new head of the DIGETE program there. Sandro Marcone has a passion for learning that is immediately evident. I am encouraged that good things will happen in Peru under his leadership. One topic we discussed was more community engagement. As part of the plan for one laptop per child in Peru going forward is more of an emphasis on regional responsibility for the project. This is synergistic with the community efforts in Puno and will hopefully resonate in more regions as well. Kiko Momayorga hosted a gathering at Escuelab to discuss community engagement more deeply. It was a chance for me to meet Anita Say Chan, Juan Camilo Lema, and Neyder Achahuanco Apaza (Laura Vargas and Sebastian Silva were there virtually from Bogata, where they were celebrating their daughter's first birthday). I also had a chance to meet with 300+ teachers attending a workshop organized by Hernan Pachas. They were very engaged, even though our meeting was at the very end of a long week. They seemed very excited by some of the new directions we have been pushing Sugar -- most of them are still running Sugar 0.84. They seemed particularly taken by the work we have done in enhancing the tools for reflection, including the Portfolio activity. It looks like 2012 will be the year we really see things pick up in Peru.

3. A quick reminder: Google Summer of Code (GSoC) [1] is gearing up for 2012. It is a nice opportunity to get some new developers on board. As a community, we need to get ourselves organized: specifically, over the next few weeks, we need to identify potential projects that might attract interns to apply to Sugar Labs. I've set up a page in the wiki for aggregating project ideas. Anyone in the community is welcome to make suggestions regarding a project that you think would make Sugar a better platform. (Projects that are relatively self-contained tend to be better for GSoC since there is a finite window in which to work on it.)

If you are interesting in being a mentor, please contact me. Also, please encourage any talented university students you may know to apply to the program. Applications are not due until late March, but it is best to start the conversation sooner than later. (Note that applications submitted to Google must be made in English, but mentoring can happen in any language, e.g., Spanish. We will gladly help potential applicants with their proposals even if English is their first language.)

In the community

4. We celebrated International Mother Language Day on February 21 [2]. Chris Leonard reports that Daniska Navin, a frequent contributor to the Translation Team, used the celebration as an opportunity to help recruit translators for FOSS projects and Sugar in particular.[3]

5. There will be a OLPC/Sugar documentation sprint from April 6-10 at the OLPC headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Please contact Adam Holt if you are interested in participating, either in person or on line.

6. There will be an eduJAM! in the week of May 7-12 in Montevideo. Details to follow.

7. The week following eduJAM! will be a Squeakfest, also in Montevideo (May 16-18).

Tech Talk

8. The ever determined and talented Daniel Drake has released a new school server image, XS-0.7 Ometepe [4]. Ometepe [5] is an island in the center of Nicaragua that is being saturated with OLPC laptops by the Zamora Foundation this week. Daniel made a new release of the server to deploy as part of this effort. Details regarding installation can be found at [6].

9. Stefan Unterhauser and Bernie Innocenti have updated our servers as part of a move to a new co-location site (The MIT Media Lab is graciously hosting our servers now). Stefan reported earlier this week: "Looks like all services are back again ... pootle took a while longer :)" Many thanks to Stefan, Bernie, and the NecSys group at the Media Lab. Plus a tip of the hat to Joichi Ito, who gave us the green light.

Sugar Labs

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

Visit our planet [7] for more updates about Sugar and Sugar deployments.