Learning Learning on a Stick
What: Family XO Mesh Meetup
When: Saturday, February 21st, 2009, 10 am to 1pm
Where: Gallaudet University [map], Student Union Building, Lower Level [floorplan], Flexible Room L040 and L041, Washington, D.C. 20002
**Please check back a day or two before the meeting in case of a room change.
Sugar on a Stick, or SoaS, is Sugar Labs‘ strategy for making it possible to run the Sugar learning environment on any computer from an inserted USB flash drive without needing to alter the native system. SoaS also provides extra space for storing user’s files. The vision is that teachers can easily try out Sugar without alarming their tech adminstrators and children can carry Sugar and their working files with them wherever they go.
With the OLPC Association‘s recent pushing of all development of Sugar to the community and Sugar Labs, work on SoaS is gaining some momentum. The current version of SoaS is really just a proof of concept with a select few Activities installed, some of which are not working. SoaS, which now runs on top of a version of Fedora 10, also doesn’t have network capability and is missing other hardware support such as the ability to use the built-in webcam. Sugar Labs is looking for interested parties to join the development effort, and the Learning Club hopes to help with testing, if not more, in the coming months.
The Classmate 3, pictured at above left next to the OLPC XO-1, just came on the market a few weeks ago, and the unit we’re demonstrating is a production unit purchased from the CTL web site. We’ll do a side-by-side hardware comparison of the Classmate 3 with the XO-1. The Classmate 3, which takes inspiration from the XO’s form factor, is the latest in the line of Intel’s children’s laptops that has essentially been in direct competition with OLPC in the developing world. The arrival of Sugar on the Classmate 3 perhaps symbolizes for today how market forces have assimilated and evolved the early ideas of Nicholas Negroponte and the original OLPC team.
In other news, we enjoyed doing the Content Jam last month (photos) and got five of the 13 or so NASA Etoys activities reviewed. We’re still collating our comments, which will be submitted to the author as he plans to more fully adapt the activities for the XO. The Sqeakland Foundation showcased our Jam in their January newsletter. Randy Caton, the author of the activities, plans to attend our March 21st meeting. We’re hoping he can present some of his insights on working with Etoys and the XO.
This month, we’re doing a Bug Jam after the meeting at 1:30 in another room on the Gallaudet campus. The Bug Jam group will perform some systematic testing on the newest release of Sugar 8.2.1. All are welcome to join in and help.
Jeff Elkner, who hosts our meetings at the Arlington Career Center, has organized a group of mentors and students to continue developing activities to run on Sugar such as the Audio Capture Activity used on a live beehive. Jeff’s development efforts may be the most serious to date in the Washington, D.C. area and those of you who have expressed some interest in helping with activity development, please talk to Jeff at the meeting or contact me at curiouslee [at] gmail [dot] com.
We will continue meeting on third Saturdays monthly alternating between Gallaudet and the Arlington Career Center with possible detours to Nortel Networks. Locations haven’t been confirmed yet, but the next three third Saturdays are:
Saturday, March 21, 10am – 1pm, Location TBD
Saturday, April 18, 10am – 1pm, Location TBD
Saturday, May 16, 10am – 1pm, Location TBD
The photo illustration for this post is from a set of photos taken while testing Sugar on the Classmate 3.