Paraguay’s vice president, Federico Franco, recently presented an award to Giulianna Pozzoli, the recent winner of the Nickelodeon-OLPC Scratch animation contest, and other student leaders. This was held Caacupé, home to the country’s first large deployment of children’s laptops.
At 0:39 you can see one of the children in the audience filming his speech on her XO; another is typing as he talks. Others have hand cameras. He talks briefly about how everyone needs to work together to help improve children’s education, for a better future – and this an essential part of it.
Dextrose2, a revamp of the popular XOOS flavor developed by Activity Central and Sugar Labs, in partnership with Paraguay Educa, is now available for both XO-1 and XO-1.5 laptops. It has a number of performance and other improvements, including 3G modem and connection sharing. I can’t wait to try it out on my old XO-1s.
The original Dextrose build + activities that was released last fall was based closely on the latest XOOS release available at the time (OS 10). This version has one major difference from the main OS: it does not offer a traditional Linux desktop as an alternative to Sugar. (Some students managed to delete their Sugar home directories from within their Gnome desktop, making work with Sugar difficult until they had reinstalled it. As a result, some teachers asked to return to a Sugar-only system.)
This work is now formally supported by Plan Ceibal, which has started to use Dextrose in their schools. It is good to see this much attention being given to activity development and Spanish-language documentation, and to close feedback loops with teachers who use the latest tools every week with their students.
NB: If you’re looking for the latest Dextrose with the Gnome desktop option added back in, you can request this on the sugar-devel mailing list. It’s on the list of versions to make, but not a high priority at the moment.
Paraguay’s national deployment, run by Paraguay Educa, has been developing its own build of a Sugar operating system for its students, with help from Sugarlabs. They are calling it Dextrose. The newly-formed Activity Central group, a Sugar-development consultancy, is helping with this work, and supporting some local developers in Paraguay.
Dextrose is a spin of the core Sugar build that will focus on teacher tools and content in Spanish.
While initially developed with feedback from classrooms in Paraguay, this will hopefully become a platform that other deployments in Latin America can use. While Peru has been shy about frequent software upgrades, preferring to have something stable for years at a time, Uruguay and other smaller deployments are good candidates to start using Dextrose as well.