Archive/Cureent Events/2013-08-22

Sugar Digest

"Dr. Ambedkar believed that ... to escape from oppression, they had to ... ‘educate, agitate and organize’ their way to emancipation." --Ramachandra Guha

1. Just for fun, taking inspiration from a conversation with Manuel Quiñones, I added a new sample program to Turtle Art. The sensor-record.tb project lets the user draw a picture with the mouse (or touch) and generates on the fly a Turtle Art project that will reproduce the drawing. Silly, but fun nonetheless. It comes bundled with the Version 185 of Turtle Blocks. (I still have the goal to recreate all of Sugar in Turtle Art.)

2. I also finally got around to writing a variant of Turtle Confusion based on flags. Turtle Flags uses a database of national flags from the Wikipedia to present programming challenges. The first flag is Peru, which is red and white stripes. But things get more challenging from there.

3. Spirituality for Kids is a website that attempts to help children "understand the benefits of human dignity, tolerance, connecting to self, community, and the world, they are better equipped to become conscious leaders in their homes, schools and communities." I've worked with them to convert some of their material into a series of Sugar activities (See [1]). Two caveats: (1) the activities contain some rather large OGV videos, so be prepared for long download times and make sure you have plenty of available disk space. (I had broken the original activity up into 6 parts to address this, but may have to break it up even further.); and (2) the content is English only at the moment. I am working with them on packaging their Spanish-language videos.

4. Aura Mora announced three new Sugar activities from the ANSPE project in Colombia (National Agency for Overcoming Extreme Poverty):

  • Super Chef: This game raises the challenge to service many patrons in the shortest possible time. The Chef should suggest and prepare delicious and nutritious recipes at different times of day: breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner. So, while the child attends to customers, proper practice habits and learn food preparation varied and nutritious recipes for each meal.
  • Cuidarme: This is a skill game where the player must resolve a conflict destroy a ghost.
  • Participation: The challenge of this game is to match sporting, cultural and recreational activities and institutions that are offered in your area.

5. Ignacio Rodriguez (with some help from his friends) created a new activity to let Sugar users change the XO avatar in the user interface. In the spirit of encouraging our users to make Sugar into an expression of their own learning.

In the community

6. It is official: International Turtle Art Day will be on October 12. Pacita Peña and Cecilia Alcala will be hosting an event in Caacupé and there will be other events around the world sharing ideas and resources. More details soon.

Tech Talk

7. I've been working in enhancing the intra-Sugar statistics gathering mechanism in order to "make learning visible" to the child and classroom teacher. We landed a patch to Sugar a while ago to record activity launch times (previously, just the most recent launch time was recorded). With these new data, it is possible to not just make visible which activities have been used, but also, how often each instance of an activity has been used. I've modified the Analyze Journal activity to reflect these changes and Gonzalo Odiard and I are working on a classroom management system to facilitate sharing of these data between the learner and the classroom teacher. This is very early in the effort: comments and feedback most welcome.

8. Daniel Drake got married this week in Nicaragua! Congratulations and best wishes for a joyful union. The festivities did not deter Daniel from announcing the release of OLPC OS 13.2.0 for XO-1, XO-1.5, XO-1.75 and XO-4. Details of new features, known issues, and how to download/install/upgrade can all be found in the release notes. Many thanks Daniel, who lead the release process and to all contributors, testers, up-streams, and those who have provided feedback of any kind. This is by far the best OLPC/Sugar release yet! (Also, there is a really nice article about what else Daniel has been doing in Nicaragua here.)

Sugar Labs

9. Please visit (and contribute to) our planet.