Sugar Labs has been accepted as a participating organization in Google Summer of Code. Visit https://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Summer_of_Code/2016 for more information or if you are interested in being a mentor.
Sugar Labs has been accepted as a participating organization in Google Summer of Code. Visit https://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Summer_of_Code/2016 for more information or if you are interested in being a mentor.
A global, online open source development & outreach contest for pre-college students ages 13-17
The Google Code-in contest gives students around the world an opportunity to explore the world of open source development. Google not only runs open source software throughout our business, we value the way the open source model encourages people to work together on shared goals over the internet.
Give it a try from December 7th, 2015 to January 25th, 2016!
Participants complete “tasks” of their choice for a variety of open source software projects. Students can earn t-shirts, certificates, and hooded sweatshirts for their work. Each software project will name two students as their grand prize winners and those students win a four day trip to in Mountain View, CA, USA in June 2016.
Since open source development is much more than just computer programming, there are lots of different kinds of tasks to choose from, broken out into five major categories:
1. Code: Writing or refactoring code
2. Documentation/Training: Creating and editing documentation and helping others learn
3. Outreach/Research: Community management and outreach/marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions
4. Quality Assurance: Testing to ensure code is of high quality
5. User interface: User experience research or user interface design
This year students can work with 14 open source organizations: Apertium, Copyleft Games Group, Drupal, FOSSASIA, Haiku, KDE, MetaBrainz, OpenMRS, RTEMS, SCoRe, Sugar Labs, Systers, Ubuntu, and Wikimedia Foundation.
Over the past five years, over 2200 students from 87 countries completed at least one task in the contest. This year we hope to have even more students participate globally. Please help us spread the word and bring more students into the open source family!
Visit g.co/codein to learn more about the contest. For even more information and contest updates, read our Frequently Asked Questions, follow our blog or join our mailing list.
The Google Code-in contest starts on December 7, 2015!
First Country to Adopt OLPC Laptops at Full 1:1 Saturation Will Be First Country to Receive XO Tablets
XO Tablets Will Feature Local Books and Be Customized for Uruguayan School System
MIAMI— One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) will provide the government of Uruguay with 8,000 of its newly released XO Tablets for distribution to pre-school and first grade children in the country. The OLPC/Uruguay pilot program (Plan Ceibal) is the world’s first government program designed to get educational technology into the hands of children ages six and under.
“Plan Ceibal has been one of the early adopters of the OLPC laptop, and Uruguay is the first country to have deployed and reached one-to-one laptop student and teacher saturation. We are very aware of the importance of integrating pedagogy and technology to enrich the educational experience of our children,” said Uruguayan government official, Miguel Brechner. “The engaging and intuitive nature of touch-screen technology, as well as the way OLPC has presented the contents of the tablet, will enable us to connect students and broaden their cognitive opportunities at an even younger age.”
The XO Tablet, designed and developed by OLPC, features OLPC’s XO Learning System and provides children with access to state-of-the-art educational content that has been curated and selected for age-appropriateness and learning value by OLPC. In addition to the XO Learning System content available on every XO Tablet, the 8000 XO Tablets distributed to children in Uruguay will be customized for the region and will be preloaded with local content to meet the requirement of the Uruguayan school system.
“There is early evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, to support the efficacy of tablets and touchscreen technology as learning devices for children as young as ages two to five,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, OLPC Chairman and CEO. “As such, adding a fully functional and educationally focused tablet is a natural extension of the OLPC mission and an excellent complement to our existing and continuing laptop program.”
The XO Tablet, and its XO Learning interface, run on the Android’s latest OS. To ensure compatibility and interoperability with the nearly 2.5 million laptops OLPC has distributed since 2005, OLPC is converting the Sugar software currently used in XO laptops to the Android system. Once the conversion is complete, Sugar will be made available via download free of charge. The porting of Sugar into Android will give XO Tablet users access to OLPC’s previously developed educational content.
The XO Tablet, which is manufactured and distributed by OLPC strategic partner, Vivitar, is currently available for purchase in the U.S. at Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com and Walmart stores. These strategic retail partners have in common a commitment and history of empowering children to learn, and in 2008, Amazon was instrumental in the execution of OLPC’s “Give 1 Get 1” program to sponsor laptops for children in developing countries. OLPC’s proceeds from sales of the XO Tablet will further the organization’s global mission by enabling further development of the XO Learning System, updating existing apps and software to facilitate interoperability between XO Tablets and Laptop and by subsidizing distribution of the tablets to children throughout the world.
About XO Tablet, XO Learning and One Laptop per Child
The XO Tablet has been fully designed and developed by OLPC to harness the power of a connected touchscreen device to create new ways for children to learn-how-to-learn. Its launch also marks the global debut of the XO Learning System, designed as a child-centric interface to empower kids to build, learn and dream as part of OLPC’s mission. OLPC was launched in 2005 at the MIT Media Lab as a project to provide a modern education to every child around the world through access to laptops and connected devices. The organization has since distributed 2.5 million of its specially designed XO laptops to children in 60 countries, and the XO Tablet extends that experience into a modern tablet form factor. All within the philosophy of Learning-by-doing advocated by the Media Lab throughout the years.
Vivitar is a leading provider of photographic, audio and optic devices and related accessories with a rich 75-year heritage of technology innovation and affordability dating back to 1938. Building off the success of its legendary Series-1 lenses and flashes, the company has steadily expanded its product portfolio to include cameras, camcorders, accessories and now tablets tailored to the needs of today’s families. Vivitar is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey, with additional offices across the United Kingdom, Latin America, Canada and Hong Kong, and global retail distribution spanning more than 100,000 locations in both mass market and specialty channels. For more information, visit www.vivitar.com.
Visit OLPC at www.one.laptop.org
For FAQ’s, where to buy and more information on the XO Tablet, visit www.xotablet.com.
OLPC OS 13.2.0 is a new software release focusing on cleaning up a few edges from our previous release, and finishing off support for the new XO-4 laptop. As usual, we maintain support and consistency for older laptops models, with XO-1.75, XO-1.5 and XO-1 also included in the release.
This is our core power saving technique where we suspend the processor after a few seconds of system inactivity (“idle suspend”), but we leave the screen and wireless interfaces running to provide the illusion that the system is still running as usual.
The new XO-4 laptop comes with bluetooth support as a purchase option. While such Bluetooth support is not immediately available in the user interface, we have enabled this functionality in the underlying system, ready for developers and deployers to use in their custom applications.
In the Clock activity, you can now use the touchscreen to drag the clock hands to another time, a useful exercise for learning about time. Drop-down lists are sub-optimal for touch, they have been replaced by more intuitive and touch-friendly UI elements in Record. The pinch-to-zoom touch gestures in Image Viewer behave much better than before. FotoToon has been improved to interact with the touchscreen on-screen keyboard.
A new activity has been added, presenting a piano-style musical keyboard to the user. The piano can then be played using the XO’s physical keyboard, or with the XO-4 touchscreen by directly placing your fingertips on the notes you wish to play. You can even play multiple notes at the same time by using more than one finger, thanks to the XO-4’s multitouch capabilities.
We are exploring methods to improve common classroom situations of teachers handing out assignments, and teachers collecting in the students work. While this functionality should ideally be part of the core Sugar desktop, for now we are prototyping a solution in the form of an activity called Journal Share, which is new to 13.2.0. To hand out an assignment to the students, the teacher starts the Journal Share activity, shares it, and adds the assignment to the session. Students join the shared activity, and with a single click, the assignment appears in their Journal. When the teacher wants to collect in the student’s work, the teacher starts the Journal Share activity and shares it. Students join the shared activity, and add their completed work from their Journal. The submitted work is automatically transferred into the teacher’s journal for later assessment and evaluation.
Several activities (such as Read, Write and Paint) are now usable when the screen is rotated. Scratch has been updated to a new version, bringing in the latest functionality and extending the library content. The Help activity content has been updated.
By: Walter Bender
There are certainly cases where applying objective measures badly is worse than not applying them at all, and education may well be one of those. –Nate Silver
Not to be deterred by Nate Silver’s words of warning, Claudia Urrea and I continue to work on mechanisms for visualizing learning Sugar. Along with the Pacita Pena and other members of the Learning Team, we have been designing rubrics that capture the level of fluency with the technology as well as the creative use of the individual Sugar tools by children. The rubrics are captured automatically in some Sugar activities, e.g., Turtle Art and a modified version of Write. We are aiming for evaluations that look more broadly than those data that are captured by standardized tests. We just submitted a paper, “Visualizing Learning with Turtle Art”, in which we present some measurements calculated from 45 Turtle Art projects created by children working with Quirós Tanzi Foundation.
We claim that the rubric serves as a partial evaluation tool for open-ended projects. Partial, because it is only a measure of how the children used Turtle Art to express themselves, but not what they made or why they made it. But the rubric does have the potential to give some assistance to the teacher who is working within the context of accountability, without adding an additional burden of analysis above and beyond looking at the work itself.
We want children not just to learn about the computer, but also to learn with the computer. Providing activities such as Turtle Art that engage them in computational thinking in the context of personal expression is necessary, but not sufficient. Giving them tools for reflection enhance the learning experience. Giving their teachers simple-to-use mechanisms for assessment increase the odds that activities like Turtle Art will find more mainstream acceptance. Making it easier to assess open-ended projects lowers one of the barriers that are preventing more use of the arts in school.
Using HTML in a Sugar Activity is not new. The Wikipedia Activity has been embedding HTML contents for years. It does this by integrating into the Activity two things: the Sugar browser to render HTML and an HTTP server to react to user clicks by calling Python code.
We’re pleased to announce the next release candidate of our new 13.1.0 software release.
OLPC OS 13.1.0 is a new software release focusing on providing support for the new XO-4 laptop and its optional touchscreen. As usual, we maintain support and consistency for older laptops models, with XO-1.75, XO-1.5 and XO-1 also included in the release.
Information and installation instructions can be found here.
Quick links for those who know which files need to be grabbed and save to USB disks:
This release adds SiS and DisplayLink USB-VGA support for the XO-1.75 and XO-4, on par with the support offered for XO-1 and XO-1.5.
We’ve moved the underlying system from Fedora 17 to Fedora 18 in this release, which was a necessary measure for touch support, and helps us keep up-to-date with the open source technologies that we rely upon. A minor update to GNOME to version 3.6 is included here.
The most notable feature in the latest version of Sugar is the addition of touchscreen support, pairing up with the new XO-4 Touch laptop. While a touchscreen can be seen as somewhat equivalent to a mouse, there are a number of subtle differences, such as the fact that it is not possible to hover without also triggering a “click”, which called for a number of user interface modifications to make Sugar suitable for touchscreen input. We’ve tackled these challenges by making small adaptions to the UI where necessary. In some places where hovering was previously required, a click or touch will now show an informational palette (with menu) rather than immediately performing an action. In other places, a touch-and-hold operation will do the equivalent of what hovering or right-clicking does with the mouse. We’ve also made some small interface elements finger-sized, such as the activity icons on the home screen.
We’ve also sprinked some gestures throughout the interface. A quick vertical swipe from the top region of the screen downwards will cause the frame to open, and the same gesture can be used to close it. When working in the Image Viewer, you can use pinch-type gestures to zoom in and zoom out. Swiping your finger over any scrollable area will cause scrolling to happen, so you don’t have to worry about trying to manipulate small scroll bars with your fingers.
Tablet mode (where the laptop screen is rotated around and folded down, physically obscuring the keyboard and mouse) is very usable with a touchscreen – especially with the work we’ve put in. When in tablet mode, if you select a text input area, an on-screen keyboard will pop up: touch the keys to type away as normal. We’ve also taken some initial steps to make sure that the region of the screen where you are typing is made visible if it would otherwise be obscured by the on-screen keyboard.
Under the hood, this release also includes a huge amount of effort in our use of the underlying GTK platform: we have migrated Sugar itself, and many more activities, to GTK+ version 3. This invisible but invasive work, which we started for 12.1.0, is essential for the ongoing development and maintenance of Sugar, and was a solid requirement for the touchscreen work described above.
More information about Sugar-0.98 is available in the Sugar release notes
Letter Match is an activity for introducing the Spanish vowels. While far from contructionist, this activity does provide a mechanism for learning the alphabet. It displays letters and images and associated sound files, such as ‘A as in ave’. There are two modes:
2. see a picture, then click on the corresponding letter
AEIOU is an activity for introducing the Spanish vowels. It displays letters and images and associated sound files, such as ‘A as in ave’. It would, of course, be fun to let the learner add their own pictures and sound recordings. There are four modes:
I Know My ABCs is an activity for introducing the Spanish alphabet. It displays letters and images and associated sound files, such as ‘A as in ave’. There are four modes:
Finally, a cool app which uses the accelerometer in XO- 4, written by a Google Code-In student:
Level Tool is an activity to check the inclination of a surface with respect to ground.
Open source experts from Hamburg improve the devices’ software platform. Code will be available under free license to the worldwide community.
Lanedo, Hamburg-based Open Source firm, is proud to announce their contribution to OLPC’s newest device, named XO-4 touch. The 7.5“ convertible notebook, expected in 2013, focuses on multitouch technology as one of its main features.
Lanedo was involved from the very beginning to extend the OLPC sofware platform called Sugar, enhancing the user interface with touch functionality and therefore laying the foundation for future developments. The team not only improved the X.org graphical subsystem with numerous multitouch-related bug fixes, but also extended the respective functionality of the GTK+ toolkit, used for drawing windows, icons and other UI widgets.
Sugar has been a significant diferentiating factor in the worldwide user community for the XO laptop. We appreciate the support of Lanedo to continue the development and enrichment of the Sugar platform, says Rodrigo Arboleda, CEO of OLPC.
One of the most exciting features is the new intuitive text selector, that allows on-screen selection using handles for exact positioning. Furthermore, several commonly known gestures like zoom, rotate and swipe have been added to the Sugar environment, available throughout the system. Lanedo has also contributed to XO-4’s word processor, based on AbiWord, which not only had the same text selector implemented in native code, but also saw improvements in scrolling and other multitouch functions. Likewise, many other bundled applications have been enhanced.
Martyn Russell, one of Lanedo’s founders and managing director, is excited about the work done:
Lanedo is proud to have had the opportunity to engage in such a noble project as One Laptop Per Child. It has been a great experience and we are thrilled at the prospect of contributing to the Open Source based platform in the future.
Following the principles of free sofware, developers can take advantage of those new features in their own projects, as all code writen will be made available freely to the benefit of the worldwide community – the GTK+ enhancements have already been incorporated in the 3.6 releases.
The release of Sugar 0.98 also incorportates many improvements to the GTK3 port. The Sugar Developer Team deserves a resounding celebatory cheer of thanks for their effort.
OLPC has been incorporating Sugar 0.98 in the 13.1 series of builds, available for download to run on the XO.
The icons in the Home View are now ordered alphabetically. This change has been applied to the favourites view and the activities list view.
The most important change is that the GTK+ 2 based sugar-toolkit has been deprecated since Sugar 0.96. Newly written activities should use sugar-toolkit-gtk3, which is based on GTK+ 3 and Pygobject3, now. There will be only bug fixes being available in the future for the old toolkit no new features will be made available for it and it will probably go away at one point completely. Detailed guidelines for porting existing activities can be found at Features/GTK3/Porting.
There is a brand new step-by-step guide for developing Activities under Fedora 17.
For more details click here.
The OLPC team conducted a training program with the Educatrachos teachers team from November 12 to 15, 2012 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The training focused on integrating the Sugar Activities into the existing curriculum with an emphasis on Spanish and Mathematics. Teachers were instructed on the various teaching resources contained within the XO laptops.
The OLPC program in Honduras will benefit 54,000 students in grades 3 to 6 in 545 schools throughout the country. These students will all have access to XO laptops and digital educational programs.
This program is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank in coordination with the Government of Honduras.
The main goal of the Elementary Education and Technology Integration Program is to improve the learning of students in the poorest elementary schools in Honduras. The program will involve training activities and will provide ongoing support to the teachers. In addition, the program is working to provide textbooks and other educational materials to these schools. The project has a special focus on the incorporation of new technologies in education.
Sugar Labs has been selected as one of ten projects to participate in Google Code In. We join, among others, our colleagues at Fedora et al., in soliciting the participation of high-school (and in our case, middle-school) students to work on projects during a six-week sprint beginning on November 26. This is a great chance for the youth who have been so instrumental in our growth over the past year to show off their talents to the world (and two of them will hopefully win a trip to visit Google). Please help Chris Leonard and Walter Bender finalize the project and mentor lists over the next few days. We are offering coding projects, documentation and training projects, outreach, quality assurance, and user interface, so even if you are not a developer, you likely have some skills to devote to the Code In.
NOTE TO MENTORS: Please create an account and fill out the Request to be a Mentor form.
NOTE TO COMMUNITY: Please add to our task lists and please recruit participants.
Sugar is written and maintained by volunteers, who range from seasoned professionals to children as young as 12-years of age. Children who have grown up with Sugar have transitioned from Sugar users to Sugar App developers to Sugar maintainers. They hang out on IRC with the global Sugar developer community and are full-fledged members of the Sugar development team. It is this latter group of children we hope will participate in and benefit from Google Code-in. Specifically we want to re-enforce the message that Sugar belongs to its users and that they have both ownership and the responsibility that ownership implies. Just as learning is not something done to you, but something you do, learning with Sugar ultimately means participating in the Sugar development process. At Sugar Labs, we are trying to bring the culture of Free Software into the culture of school. So the Code-in is not just an opportunity for us to get some tasks accomplished, it is quintessential to our overall mission
If you are interested visit wiki.sugarlabs to read the details.
By: Torie Leslie, OLPC facilitator at Allenbrook Elementary School
On October 26th, 2012 the nine CMS Project L.I.F.T. zone schools and community
partners joined forces to host the L.I.F.T annual community meeting. This event
included breakout sessions centered around L.I.F.T’s commitment to appropriate
technology for all students. The “OLPC Lounge” stood out as a shining star during
this time as students, their families and community members enjoyed quality time
with XO laptops and OLPC support staff members. All visitors to the session had the
opportunity to ask questions and explore Activities on the Sugar Learning Platform.
One of my favorite memories from this event was when a 4th grade student was
sitting with his sister who is in Kindergarten and he explained how to open the
Speak Activity so she could type in her name and hear the robot speak her name. He
said to her, “You can use my XO for now but you’ll be getting your own soon!”
Check out this video from the evening created by my colleague, Monique Pollock,
facilitator at Ashley Park Pre-K-8.
By Walter Bender
Sugar Labs is applying to Google Code-in (GCI), “a contest for
pre-university students (e.g., high school and secondary school
students) with the goal of encouraging young people to participate in
Why we are applying? Sugar is written and maintained by volunteers,
who range from seasoned professionals to children as young as 12-years
of age. Children who have grown up with Sugar have transitioned from
Sugar users to Sugar App developers to Sugar maintainers. They hang
out on IRC with the global Sugar developer community and are
full-fledged members of the Sugar development team. It is this latter
group of children we hope will participate in and benefit from Google
Code-in. Specifically we want to re-enforce the message that Sugar
belongs to its users and that they have both ownership and the
responsibility that ownership implies. Just as learning is not
something done to you, but something you do, learning with Sugar
ultimately means participating in the Sugar development process. At
Sugar Labs, we are trying to bring the culture of Free Software into
the culture of school. So the Code-in is not just an opportunity for
us to get some tasks accomplished, it is quintessential to our overall
Agustin Zubiaga Sanchez noted that last week we passed the
threshold of more than eight million activities downloaded from the
Sugar Labs activity portal. I echo his sentiment that “I’m very
glad to be a sugarlabs developer. Congratulations to all the team :)”
In the community
Last weekend was the OLPC SF summit in San Francisco, which was
followed by a three-day Sugar Camp. Although I missed opening day, Day
Two was quite interesting in that there was a lot of good discussion
about how to sustain and grow the various volunteer-run OLPC/Sugar
deployments. At Sugar Camp, although not much code was written, there
was an opportunity to get tangible and actionable feedback from the
likes of Mark Bradley (we pushed hard on Turtle Art as a multimedia
toolkit). I also had the opportunity to catch up with Raul Gutierrez
Segales, Ivan Krstić, and others.
The little coding I did do in San Francisco was in support of
migrating more activities to touch. Specifically, I worked on
integrating the on-screen keyboard into several of my activities:
Portfolio and Turtle Blocks. The challenge was that I was using
key-press events directly, rather than accessing them through a GTK
widget such as a Entry or TextView. With help from Raul, I managed to
get things working pretty well: basically, I just drop a TextView
widget under the cursor where I expect keyboard input. The details are
outlined here. I’m generally pleased with the results, but there
is a bit of fine-tuning of the interaction, e.g, you need to defocus
the TextView in order to dismiss it: not such a burden, but at times,
Ignacio Rodriguez has been on a tear, helping me to migrate
activities to GTK 3. Over the past week, we converted: Card Sort,
Cookie Search, Color Deducto, Deducto, Flip, Fraction Bounce, Loco
Sugar, Napier’s Bones, Nutrition, Paths, Pukllananpac, Recall,
Reflection, GNUChess, Sliderule, Story, Yupana, and XO Editor. I also
worked with Agustin Zubiaga on Portfolio, Flavio Denesse on Ruler, and
Daniel Francis on Turtle Blocks. Whew.
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). Please register here.
5. Simon Schampijer announced the “I am a GTK+ 3 shell” release of Sugar and the Sugar toolkit.
6. Daniel Drake announced that a new 13.1.0 development build is available (This one comes with the first development release of the GTK-3 port of Sugar and it is intended for developers to play with it and find bugs to help us solve them before release.)
OLPC OS 12.1.0 is a new software release focusing on improving the XO-1.75 user experience, and undertaking a much-needed technological shift for Sugar’s internals to GTK+ 3.x. Additionally, XO-1.5 and XO-1 continue to be supported in this release, and we include a variety of new features and fixes.
During this development cycle, we have spearheaded efforts within the Sugar Labs community to make Sugar GTK3-ready. The changes you will see as a user are few. This work was limited to the back-end platform only. As we continue the transition in future, you’ll receive efficiency improvements, and activities will improve in quality from having more direct access to a wider range of system libraries.
Recent Sugar versions have shown a “naming screen” upon stopping a new instance of a Sugar activity. The idea was to encourage the learner to provide a good name for their work, and perform some self-reflection in the details field. However, some found this confusing (stopping an activity should be as simple as possible).
Sugar-0.96 changes this – the naming screen is no longer displayed. However, all activities now have a button in the toolbar that allows a description to be set. We hope that this will continue to encourage self-reflection while not being as intrusive as before.
A new icon in the Sugar frame allows for any currently-selected text to be dictated by the internal speech engine.
For more details on all the improvements visit the wiki here.