1. Assessment is a topic that comes up again and again in discussions of Sugar. While there are several efforts under way to gather statistics about activity usage (See [1, 2] and , for example), most of those efforts are in service of everyone except the learner. In the spirit of "making learning visible", I modified an existing activity, Analyze Journal, written by Agustin Zubiaga Sanchez, in order give the Sugar user some feedback about their activity usage. Agustin had written the original activity to show free space in the Journal. I added two more views: one that displays a list of activities sorted by frequency of use; and one that shows statistics about block usage in Turtle Art activities. (The latter is based on a rubric developed jointly with Pacita Pena from Paraguayu Educa and Claudia Urrea from OLPC.) I am hoping that Analyze Journal and Portfolio (a previous effort to make learning visible) inspire the Sugar community to put more effort not just into gathering data for school administrators, but also in making reflection by the learners themselves part of the Sugar experience.
One further note regarding Analyze Journal. I'd blogged recently about how youths who had grown up with Sugar were beginning to submit patches. In this case, the roles have reversed completely: I submitted the patch to Agustin.
2. In keeping with the spirit of the above discussion, a new datastore metadata tag has landed in Sugar 0.98. The "launch-times" tag is updated whenever an activity is launched. This will enable the learner to answer questions such as "how often have I used this activity?"; "do I use it in class, at home, or both?" Again, the goal is not to subsume the functionality potentially provided by 2, but to make the data available within Sugar itself more rich.
3. There has been a discussion on the IAEP list about various strategies for using Turtle Blocks in support of robotics. The LEGO WeDo was discussed as one of several options currently available. It got me thinking that it may be time to finally add support for multiple WeDo devices. It is still beta, but please test the latest wedo_plugin. In addition to supporting multiple devices, it also is a bit more robust in regard to plugging in and removing devices while the program is running. (In the first version of the code, the device had to be plugged in when Turtle Blocks launched. Now devices can be added and removed while Turtle Blocks is running.)
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4. There are plans to hold the next OLPC SF summit in San Francisco the weekend of October 19-21. We are holding a Sugar Camp following the summit (Oct 22-24).
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