Talk:Volunteer frontpage


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Old ideas from mailing lists

Mike Fletcher, March 23

As I start the developer outreach work I'm getting (quite a few) developers asking me the question: Where should I work within the project.

and I'm coming up against the question of how I can know what the project priorities/needs are. Over time I will hopefully become pseudo-omniscient (work on that later ;) ) but in the meantime I'm tossing around some ideas.

So far my answers are of the character:

  • We desperately need documentation
  • Mel is beginning work on that with Marco now
  • We desperately need (documented) sample code for:
  • Hippo, particularly for activities, particularly more advanced layouts showing both how and *why*
  • Telepathy, we need sample code for "how to share activity state among multiple participants"
  • Hardware access from Python (for all special hardware)

and I *think* those answers are probably the right answers *today* (and there's more in the wiki on the developer's images pages), but that's all just *me* thinking up what needs to be done. What I need to be effective is requests from the various project leads, things like:

  • We need someone to build an X activity with an associated set of simple experiments
  • We need someone to document X API(s) or processes
  • We need someone to figure out how to do X
  • We need someone to run X subproject, they need to be able to do this, that and the other thing

If at all possible, some prioritisation would be helpful (is this blocking your project, going to speed it up, or just a nicety). I'll probably look into getting such things posted to a wiki page somewhere (or maybe something with an RSS feed).

Or does someone have a better idea? Project-wide ticket-tracker for "hiring"? Simple mailing list with announces of needs and offers?

There are thousands of developers willing to work, where do we need them tomorrow,


Brian Berry, April 6, 2007

Here are some ideas I have to stimulate the developer and educator communities I have linked them to

I discussed these ideas w/ Walter and Dick Rowe but I am copying you guys just in case you have some genius ideas to add.

Specific to Developers:

  1. Need certificate recognizing core developers from a major education institution like Stanford
  2. Discounts on RHCE exams
  3. Discount on the yet-nonexistent Python certification

Stimulating Open Content Communities for OLPC

This is Part III of the Grassroots series. I am skipping over Part II "Teambuilding" because it has proven harder to write. I will come back to it. Thanks to Xavi Alvarez for reminding me to work on it and the wiki

OLPC seeks to provide every child with a powerful learning platform and an-ever evolving array of powerful learning activities. To accomplish this, OLPC must not only build and distribute the base platform, it must nurture and encourage three groups of people:

  1. Software Developers
  2. Educators
  3. Artists

These communities may be international and have sub-groups by nation or linguistic region. Here are my suggestions for comprehensive programs to stimulate the development of these communities. I have put special emphasis stimulating communities in developing nations.

Developer Program

Engineers in developing nations need more financial incentives to participate in Open Source projects than engineers in the developing world require (often none), typically due to the financial pressures placed on them by their families. We need to convince both student developers and their teachers that they should switch their academic focus from J2EE to Python.

Benefits for Core Developers:

  • Certificate from an internationally recognized technical university -- ideally MIT.
  • Other possibilities are the MIT Media Lab or Open Source Lab at Oregon State. Certificates are a big deal in the developing world.
  • Certificates could be based on amount of code contributed to, participation in code reviews, hardware development etc.
  • Discounted internet access and possibly provide extra UPS -- this benefit would vary country by country and a grassroots organization would have to coordinate it.
  • Free hardware -- important step, OLPC is already doing this
  • Discounted or free examinations for related IT certifications for accomplished developers
  • Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
  • A Python programming certification -- I know this doesn't exist but OLPC is a good enough reason to start one
  • Internships -- We intend to offer internships at OLPC Nepal but this may not be feasible in a country without an active OLPC organization.

Events to Stimulate Interest in OLPC

  • Regional and international events to stimulate interest in development, should emphasize commercial value of skills learned from working on OLPC, for example: "learn Python and you could eventually work for Google, Red Hat, etc."
  • Regional and national programming contests with significant prize money, for example in Nepal $2000 USD would be a substantial prize and huge incentive
  • Separate contests for Activity Development, hardware development, and power systems development, could be organized similar to CSIDC
  • Pie-in-the-sky idea -- regional Google Summer of Code style summer camps focussed on OLPC
  • Regional or national programming hackfests and sprints

Educator Program

The term educator includes many types of individuals including working teachers. I refer to an educator in the OLPC context as anyone who generates instructional content and/or facilitates learning with kids.

It will be hard to convince veteran teachers to use a radically different method of instruction. However, we can convince the next generation of educators who have recently graduated or are still in university. If we can win their support they will ensure that OLPC is an integral part of their respective national education systems in the long run.

We especially need to recognize individuals that digitize histories, literature, other academic works under the creative commons license.

Benefits for Core Educators

  • A Certificate from an internationally recognized Education Body or Academic institution -- a certificate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education would be ideal.
  • Unfortunately, a certificate from Brazil's Ministry of Education would mean little in Nepal
  • Possible Certificates: Certified Teacher Trainer, Certified Curriculum Developer
  • A Certificate from an educators local Ministry of Education recognizing their contribution to OLPC
  • Points towards academic tenure -- We will pursue this in Nepal
  • Free hardware
  • Discounted Internet Access

Events to Stimulate Interest in OLPC

  • Regional and National seminars to develop different kinds of learning activities
  • Regional and National awards for learning activities
  • Teacher Training Seminars

Artist Program

We need artists to help develop the creative possibilities of the XO. Specifically I am thinking how to involve musicians, photographers, and graphic designers. Frankly, I am at a loss how to best reward this community as I don't have a creative bone in my body and I only hang out w/ computer geeks. However, we really need to stimulate this community. Please contribute your ideas for the artist program.

We need artists to 1) generate learning activities around art and design and 2) Digitize paintings, music, photos, etc. under the creative commons license so that children around the world can enjoy them.

Benefits for Core Artists


Events to Stimulate Interest in OLPC

  • Etoys Art Competition
  • TamTam and SynthLab Composition -- Could be run through TamTam website
  • Students could post their composition to the Tamtam site
  • site visitors could vote for their favorite composition
  • We need some kind of competition to spur digital musicians to implement different instruments and rhythms into TamTam
  • SJ Klein's idea -- create a drop-in center where storytellers, musicians, and graphic artists could get their work digitized.

Reviving the conversation

From an email to sj, lauren:

Long email from Bryan Berry (OLPC Nepal) on nurturing content communities, April 6 to devel, olpcnepal lists, titled "ideas to stimulate developer and educator communities". Posted in entirety to wiki, above. Also, Mike Fletcher emailed the sugar list on March 23 and started a thread titled "New developers... how to place them?" (SJ contributed to the thread at one point). Is Mike still doing work on coordinating developers and outreach? Could he either own or mentor the owner of the Volunteers Frontpage? Nikki Lee (of the art community) has volunteered but has little experience w/ FOSS & open-content dev. communities, she'd like to learn more by doing this but requested a mentor to guide her through, and Mike may be better-placed to guide her than I am.

We need to get someone to own the volunteers frontpage / welcome wagon. Who? Michael + Bryan + Nikki?

Also, for whoever ends up owning this: Mitchell suggested Activities as a starting place. There is also a Community todos list. We really need that task tracker up and running. Who is installing RT?

Mchua 13:43, 12 July 2007 (EDT)

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