See also Category:Software ideas
This page is a brainstorming space for ideas which may eventually become Software projects. Keep in mind that the projects here are merely proposals or ideas. If you would like to add a new project idea, try to be reasonably thorough in your description.
When brainstorming, try to let your mind run free. When reading and looking for a project to start, keep in mind that we are looking for projects that encourage Playful Learning instead of Edutainment.
This section discusses whole application-classes that might be useful to have available on the OLPC laptops. That is, these are "requirements"-focussed ideas for what type of thing we want to provide. For many of the application classes there are existing PyGTK-based applications available that could be ported to Sugar (Sugarised).
Also, think about frameworks rather than just individual applications. Don't build MySpace. Instead, build a toolkit that could be used to build MySpace-like applications.
If you want to work on one of these ideas, add a section to the Software projects page describing your project (or just add your name below with contact information so that other interested people can contact you to organise into a project, or create a link to a Wiki page with more description about what you figure needs to be done):
- Simple Calculations
- Data Analysis and Visualization (as opposed to statistics)
- Fractran interpretor in C from ADA graph language
- Basic Calculators (e.g. GCalculator)
- Spreadsheet software
- Financial tools
- Loan calculators
- Accounting software
- Higher mathematics
- Financial Literacy
- Cash vs. Credit
- Interest and Borrowing
- Basic Accounting
- International Monies
- Applied Mathematics
- Digital Signal Processing (filters, echo, etc. in Electronic Music, voice-changer game, etc.)
- Motion simulation (rocketry, planetary-motion)
- Estimation through sampling (e.g. the total height of all the children, based on a sample)
- Initial literacy (local language)
- Second-language learning - See Educational content ideas/language learning and Language learning
- Second-language literacy (WiXi?)
- Subtitling or captioning - (single-language/bi-lingual sub-titles for videos)
- Argument Mapping
- Logic, decision making, debate
- Story-book reader (illustrated story reader)
- Audio-book reader
- Dictionary (including meanings)
- Mad-libs, Exquisite Corpse
- Peer Editing Exchange
- Speech recognition
- Speech synthesis
- Show and tell (child's video about an object or a slide-show illustrated by text and photos, to practice first/second language)
- Starfield explorers
- Chemical simulators
- Physics simulators (Newtonian)
- Biological simulators (population simulators)
- Genealogy software (e.g. Gramps)
- Dynamic system simulators (e.g. ecological simulators, economic simulators)
- Geography (mapping) software, coordinates, maps, data-overlays, GIS operations
- Data collection tools
- Unit conversion tools (e.g. GConvert)
- Time-lapse photography tool
Physical Education and Training
- Training program tracker (e.g. PyTrainer)
Art and Expression
- Vector graphic creation (illustration)
- Raster graphic creation (painting, sketching)
- Collage operations (eToys?)
- Programmatic creation (Logo or the like)
- Video creation
- Art History Studies
- Performance broadcast (school plays and the like)
- Voice/Ear training (e.g. Solfege)
- Score display and creation (TamTam?)
- Instrument tuning (e.g. guitar)
- Viral OLPC Startup Sounds - edit short jingles and share them them with network neighbours. They could also "mutate" with each copy
- VoIP phone
- Conferencing system, virtual classroom, shared presentations
- Email client (gmail-for-children?)
- Voice-mail (voice email and standard voicemail)
- Web-page editor (wikidpad?)
- Televised video (streaming video viewer)
For more school-to-school and internet-school communication, see the Internet and Radio and broadcast pages for a whole list of internet and non-internet communication methods, some of which would make good software-projects. This includes things like Sneakernet (moving files between schools and to an internet-computer on CD/DVD/Flash Drive, aided by routing software), one-way file broadcasting, etc.
- Role-playing systems
- Mind-mapping systems (outliners, free-form note-taking tools, e.g. Labyrinth, Gjots, )
- Integrate these into the Bulletin board layer?
- A learning management system and collaborative work environment, for school servers. Moodle or similar.
- A groupware for project development and management, for school servers. Egrouware or similar
- A repository system for multimedia content in school servers
- A wiki engine for school servers
- Drill and test software (Yes, even on a constructivist machine - follow the link for discussion)
- Software for supporting teachers' use of rubrics
Games (see also Games)
- Game framework: Multi-player, multi-team game architecture, so kids can make up their own games.
- Game console emulators (needs content)
- Strategy Games
- eToys Games
- Puzzle Games
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Word Searches
- Word Jumbles
- Sodoku (e.g. Python Sodoku)
- Card Games
- Tournament framework: Allow kids to easily set up and manage a tournament
- Text-driven Adventure Games for 2nd language learning - Multi-user with pictures or 3D rooms.
- Massively Multiplayer Online Games for 2nd language learning - involving native speakers via the internet.
Play (like games, without winners and losers)
- There is a literature of this kind of social team-building play. For instance, adapt ideas from No Contest by Alfie Kohn.
- Microcontroller programmers/compilers (e.g. for irrigation systems, art installations and general automation)
- CAD/CAM applications (e.g. PythonCAD)
- BuddyBrowser - a safe, fun hybrid web browser/search engine/protal made especially for kids 4-10 allowing kids to surf all of their favorite kid-appropriate sites, without accidentally running in to inapporporiate material. Download at www.buddybrowser.com
- Source-code editor with transparent native-language display.
- To-do lists
- Personal Wiki (eg TiddlyWiki)
- juwo (please see http://juwo.com. I shall need help porting it to Linux)
eXe - an XHTML-Editor for creating E-Learnings. (You do not need any programming knowledge, an pretty easy tool: http://exelearning.org/)
Scratch - I think the OLPC team should consider the idea of including a version of Scratch in the OLPC machines. Created by the MIT, it's free, and it's an excellent and graphical way to create animations and games, to learn logic and how to program machines (specially for kids !), with no need of complicated instruction code : you make all by mouse clicks, and with a pretty interface. Try it, and you'll like it !
- Indeed. The Scratch folks are porting it to OLPC. I've just now created a stub Scratch page. Good thought. :) MitchellNCharity 17:02, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
- Recipe-managing (allowing kids and parents to create and share recipes with friends and world. eg Gourmet Recipe Manager)
Social and collaborative
- Multi-person simulations of markets, agriculture, government.
- Yahoo Answers
- IM, chat, Skype
- Multi-person simulations of physics, biology, population,
- Wiki-like group drawing tools
- Wiki-like group music tools.
Porting Existing Software
This section explores existing applications that could be ported to the laptop in order to provide the functionality for the children. The List of PyGTK Applications is a good place to start. If you are porting an application, you'll want to contact the author and add an entry to the Software projects page describing the porting effort (and providing contact information for it).
- Calc for more basic tasks, BC for more difficult ones, and SC or a GUI based spreadsheet, perhaps.
- LaTeX, this is free and powerful typesetting system creating beautiful documents
- Mathematica for children, for modeling and calculating
- An update/software manager to handle updates and new software that come out after the laptop is given to the child
Software for scheduling activities
Teachers sometimes find it hard to supervise mixed-ability groups, since each child learns at a different rate. There is a commercial program called Supermemo (an abbreviation of Super-Memorization), which demonstrates a Spaced repetition technique that might be used to schedule the learning-activities for each child. An open-source program similar to this might be found/written. It could be used, for example, to remind children to review and update mind-maps to stop knowledge fading from memory, which was acquired originally through constructionist activities.
(Further discussion of this concept, and why it does not necessarily clash with constructivism, moved to Drill and test software)
Mindstorms robot simulations
Seymour Papert, the father of constructionism and a leading-light of OLPC, wrote the book 'Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas'. The 'Mindstorms' name was licensed to Lego for their range of Lego Mindstorms NXT robots, programming software, motors, controllers, etc.
It would be good to see whether the OLPC could have some software simulation of Mindstorm-type activites (building and programming robots and sensors, production-lines, light/sound-detectors, etc). Since it might infringe some Lego intellectual property rights, the OLPC project could negotiate with them to see if any part of the Mindstorms ideas can be used for free, perhaps in exchange for some more advice on advances in constructionist education and activities. It shouldn't undermine their sales much, since children in Europe and North America prefer the physical toys to on-screen simulations.
The "software ideas" category below contains many pages not yet indexed here.