Archive/Current Events/2010-07-28

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Sugar Digest

1. Over the past month I have had the pleasure of visiting Sugar/OLPC deployments in Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Nicaragua, and Peru. Each has been different from the next, but all share a common goal of bringing the opportunity for learning to the children of their communities. I've gotten to spend time with the local deployment teams, teachers, trainers, technicians, government officials, children, and even some parents. Sugar, GNU/Linux and OLPC volunteers and community members has also been present everywhere I have gone.

I cannot begin to describe the dedication and energy I have observed and what it means to me to see the efforts of countless thousands of volunteers being put into practice.

In Nicaragua, the deployment is being run by Grupo Financiero LAFISE BANCENTRO. They are focusing their efforts on the Atlantic Coast, where the needs are greatest. Daniel Drake, who deserves to be knighted for his tireless efforts – he has volunteered in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Nepal, Argentina, Paraguay, and Peru – was in Managua, helping yet another technical team get on top of all of the issues they face in scaling up a deployment. Claudia Urea led a series of discussions with the pedagogical team and I had a chance to hold a workshop on hacking Sugar with the local GNU/Linux community; we covered a lot of ground and managed to submit a patch by the end of evening.

In Peru, I spent time at the ministry of education, giving them an update on the latest from Sugar Labs and discussing with them a strategy for upgrading their XO 1.0 computers while phasing in XO 1.5 machines as well as Sugar on a Stick. The highlight of the trip was a day-long seminar with 1000 teachers from schools in the Lima region. (These teachers will be working with Sugar in the next phase of the Peru deployment.) I gave two presentations: a morning talk on Sugar and pedagogy and an after-lunch demonstration of Sugar (we ate chifa). I had a very good reception, but I was out-staged by the presentation by Sdenka Salas, a teacher from Puno, a city on the shore of Lake Titikaka. Sdenka, as you may recall, wrote a book about Sugar for teachers, La Laptop XO en el Aula. She also hosted Sebastian Silva at a recent Sugar Camp in Puno that made major inroads into translating Sugar into Quechua and Aymara. As usual, I gave my presentation using Turtle Art. Sdenka used Etoys for her talk. Needless to say, the teachers were blown away by seeing the accomplishments of one of their own. It was breathtaking. Victor Castillo ended the meeting with a call for more regional autonomy and sharing among them – a great direction.

2. While in Lima, I got my first look at the OLPC "High School" machine. It is a blue XO 1.5 with a "standard" non-membrane keyboard. The keyboard exceeded my expectations. I am guessing that it will be quite popular with deployments.

In the community

3. Squeakfest will be held in Wilmington, North Carolina on the 26th–28th of July.

4. There will be a Turtle Art Day at the Arlington Career Center in Arlington Virginia on 7 August. Jeff Elkner's team will be showing off the activity portal they have build for uploading and sharing Turtle Art projects. (It could serve as a prototype for a general Sugar project portal.)

Tech talk

5. Chris Ball announced the release of build os206 as the final 10.1.1 release build for XO-1.5 laptops. Release notes are available at [1]. Instructions for installing the release can be found at [2].

Sugar Labs

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

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