Support meetings/20080830


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Guest presenters

  • Caryl Bigenho (longtime teacher & volunteer)
  • David Cavallo (OLPC VP Learning)
  • Brian Jordan (OLPC Intern)

We will be examining Educators' Learning Content. A public meeting (90 min) co-hosted with the Aug 29-31 Physics Game Jam.


1) Topic: Fostering Educators' Activities & Content

Guest Speakers:

 David Cavallo (OLPC VP of Learning)
 Caryl Bigenho (experienced teacher & volunteer)
 Brian Jordan (games developer & doc writer)

Possible Questions:

 Who are going to be the focus of our Activities and games?
 What kind of learning content is needed most?
 What learning strategies are OLPC working on?
 How can engineers help great teachers get innovative projects moving?

More detailed agenda/minutes to be posted here:

Public Mtg Co-hosted with Brian Jordan's Aug 29-31 Physics Game Jame:

2) Help finalize OLPC/Sugar's weeklong Book Sprint, now that the Austin's wrapping up -- we need PREPRESS EDITING, IMAGES and SPECIFIC BEGINNER FEEDBACK:    register then click on...    and...

Build bridges to:

Post here publically *however* you can contribute:

3) The Gang's HARD-AS-HELL work of tools/documentation/community prep for a more global G1G1 2008/2009. Are we ready for the day when OLPC's "3rd biggest deployment" could one day become OLPC's "#1 biggest" ??

Help me and Adric (etc) now unify and once and for all......regardless of how you fit into the following 3 critical-for-our-lifeblood roles I'm recruiting for:

 A. RT/Tool Admin(s):  Seize the opportunity to build out real

ToolSmithing around worldwide OLPC Support. Work closely with OLPC grassroots leadership to drive support community's workflow forward, scaling up from 100 proven volunteers towards 1000.

 B. Librarian:  Organize our exploding corpus of public and private

Support Documentation. A literary, social, organized and driven volunteer would be absolutely ideal. Please all apply!

 C. Community Organizer:  Write regular public newsletters for our

Support Gang team, explain our successes, introduce new members, develop an online & offline Social Network irrefutably demonstrating the rewards of participation!

PREVIEW SEP 7, 4PM: Ian DANIHER -- How to Run a Repair Center!

                   Diane Serley, of -- How to Sell Parts!


Who are going to be the focus of our Activities and games?

Elementary School Students? (Approximately ages 5-11 USA grades K-5)

Expand to include older children? (Middle School and High School)

What kind of content is needed most?

ebooks? (children in many schools worldwide have no access to any books...none, nada, zilch)

Activities and games that teach basic concepts? (reading, math, geography, etc).

Simulations as Activities and/or on the internet?

Ways to use the XO as a scientific device (Arjun's work) with suggested lessons?

How can we manage to get more educational content created?

Game Jams centered around a subject with teacher input

Programming Jams with training sessions and lessons for programmers at all levels followed by collaborative projects (Like Ceibal in Uruguay is doing).

Soliciting/collecting proven educational activities from successful, experienced teachers? (tell them they don't have to program, just have the ideas and our volunteer programmers will do the rest. Be sure to get their input as the project goes along and have them review the results).

How can we projects to utilize more of the Activities effectively?

Can we get teacher feedback? Ask teachers using the XO with their students to field-test activities (in all projects...many languages) and to create guides for their use, including suitability for age levels, concepts covered, suggestions for use, prior learnings needed, expected student outcomes, evaluation of the activity (what worked well, what needs improvement).

Can we get student feedback: Ask the children what their favorite Activities are, why, and what they learned from them. Also ask them to suggest ideas for new activities.

This is just a beginning. Please add your ideas and "Reply All" to all of us.



What's happening in other countries...


Uruguay be having their second "game jam" this Saturday and the next. They will train volunteers to program and will have groups write programs for educational games.

At the game jam, they will be working on perfecting a project called "Conozco Uruguay" ("I know Uruguay"). It is designed to teach simple geography of Uruguay with a game about an extra-terrestrial "friend" whose spaceship breaks into 7 pieces that fall all over the country. The student has to follow hints to help his extra-terrestrial friend find the pieces and put the space ship back together. It has both a game mode and an explore mode that will (when finished) allow the student to learn more about the different areas of their country. The activity will have levels that can be adjusted by the teacher to meet the needs of their students.

You can see information about it here (Google Translation Available)

A significant quote from someone in Project Ceibalabout developing localized activities: "esto es lo que tenemos que hacer nosotros mismos y no podemos esperar que llegue desde Boston". ("This is what we have to do ourselves and we can't wait for it to arrive from Boston."

I have also submitted an idea for a simple math game "Cuadrado Mágico de Tic-Tac-Toe" (Tic-Tac-Toe Magic Square). It involves 2 or more players using the mesh and works on developing skills with elementary addition. They like the game and plan to work on it at the jam. I got the game from a retired teacher friend who has given me lots of other math content that could be adapted for the XO for use with Primary students (K-3).


(Thanks to Henry Vélez Molina from Medellín): "Internet llama mucho la atención. Pero las actividades Record, El chat y Laberinto, son unas de las preferidas por los niños. También en las XO pueden escuchar música mientras realizan otras actividades."

"The internet gets a lot of attention. But the activities Record, Chat, and Labyrinth (?) are the ones preferred by the children. They can also listen to music while they are doing other activities." (there were a number of folks who asked how they did this).

An offer from the Netherlands... A retired couple who program as a hobby has offered to let their "Woordkasteel" ("Wordcastle") program which is designed to help children who are having problems reading and writing. It is in Dutch and written in C++. With the help of teachers from other countries, who would need to submit word lists, it could be ported to other languages. The link to see the program (it is cute) is here:

Domestic Possibilities....

Health Education

We have a new volunteer offer from a Nurse-educator that includes using the XO for health education and references. Here is what he suggests along with links to some organizations that are involved in games for health (mostly for teens and adults):

"Educating children on health: It already has education as a mission, but I wonder how much of that is devoted to evidence-based health education practices? It uses gaming too, so it could also be adopted by groups such as Games for Health <> ( And, projects such as Re-Mission <> ( could be a model for how it teaches children compliance and self-care with other diseases."

Science Resources

Some science resources don't require Flash. Some have built-in activities teachers can use with their students. All are US based and in English. There must be others in other countries and languages.

For Meteorology

For Ornithology
(unfortunately the games require Flash or Quicktime, but there is a lot of good information and the birdcount activities can be done by classes).

Resources that require Flash. (Can someone concentrate on getting Gnash to work with sites like these?) Examples...

For Geology/geography
Build your own volcano and watch it erupt:

For Chemistry/Physics

Watch fun YouTube videos of every element in the Periodic Table with this site from The University of Nottingham in England:

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