Talk:Application Program: Test of ability with arithmetic

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Use UTF-8 for strings !!!

Using XML for translation strings garanties, that encoding isn't a problem.


<application name="aritmetic program"> <item>

 <string lang="en">0123456789</string>
 <string lang="de">0123456789</string>
 <string lang="ar">٠١٢٣٤٥٦٧٨٩</string>

</item> <item>

 <string lang="en">+-*/=.</string>
 <string lang="de">+-*/=,</string>

</item> <item>

 <string lang="en">How many digits should the numbers use?</string>
 <string lang="de">Wie viele Stellen soll die Zahl haben?</string>

</item> </application>


While I certainly understand the merits of a discussion about how to develop software for the machine, I am not sure that an arithmetic proficiency test is in the spirit of what we are trying to accomplish with the laptop. While we certainly could use laptops to distribute worksheets and administer tests, wouldn't it be more productive to work with an example where the children are being expressive? Perhaps we could work with one of the examples from Logo? Walter 19:11, 31 May 2006 (EDT)

Thank you for your comments. The program is not so much an arithmetic proficiency test, though it could be used as such, as a program for children to test themselves that they can work out the right answer to a problem. This could be used in a ready-to-test situation as outlined in the http://wiki.laptop.org/index.php/Software_Ideas_-_Education#The_.22ready-to-test.22_concept section.

Whether the ready-to-test idea is considered a good idea and, if so, whether it wil be used as part of the One Laptop per Child project is for the OLPC management to decide, perhaps influenced by any comments made by members of the community.

The "spirit of what we are trying to accomplish with the laptop" is an interesting phrase. The children need to be educated. Qualifications are an important part of being educated if that education is to be applied to obtain employment. This application program is just a drop in the ocean along that path, yet it is a start. A culture that examinations are a fun thing to do because they can lead to recognition of ability could be a major turn around from the traditional culture that examinations are something to fear.

This application program is intended to be an example of a stand-alone program which can run directly on the as-supplied laptop.

> ..., wouldn't it be more productive to work with an example where the children are being expressive?

Well, it would be good to have an example where the children are being expressive. However, I have no idea at present how to proceed to specify such an application program. If you or other readers would like to start a page for such an application program that would be good.

> Perhaps we could work with one of the examples from Logo?

Yes. I know very little about Logo at present, though I am interested to learn, so I could not start the page off. Would the example from Logo be a stand-alone program which can run directly on the as-supplied laptop? If it is not then it is still worth doing, though something else would be needed to try to produce a stand-alone program which can run directly on the as-supplied laptop.

William Overington 2006-06-01 0621Z

There is now a page especially for The ready-to-test idea within this wiki. Your comments are welcome.


Contents

Why are you teaching kids to type in an arithmetic program?

Comments

I would have thought that a child needs to already know how to type before they are given an arithmetic program to use. Therefore, the repeated instruction to press the "Enter" key is not needed and patronizing. Kids are NOT stupid.

You could actually do this without any Enter keys at all. Show some indication that a correct answer has not been entered yet. Then time the input keystrokes and once the correct answer has been entered, pause for some short time before changing the indicator. The pause should be roughly 3 times the shortest inter-keystroke timing unless there was an inter-keystroke time longer than that in which case the pause should be the sum of the longest and shortest inter-keystroke timings.

If you insist on an "Enter" key then this should be a GUI Button labelled "Check this answer".

But, in general, I think you are going about this all the wrong way. A reward/punishment framework like this testing program is not consistent with constructionist principles. And designing a program needs to begin at the beginning, not start with translating strings that may never appear in the program or which may have to be changed after testing shows that they confuse the kids.

Reply to the comments

>Why are you teaching kids to type in an arithmetic program?

How have you got the idea that the program has the purpose of teaching children to type?

>I would have thought that a child needs to already know how to type before they are given an arithmetic program to use.

Yes.

>Therefore, the repeated instruction to press the "Enter" key is not needed and patronizing.

What is wrong with providing precise instructions?

What does patronizing mean please? Why do you think the instructions are patronizing?

>Kids are NOT stupid.

Are you boldly refuting what I never wrote, thought or implied?

>If you insist on an "Enter" key then this should be a GUI Button labelled "Check this answer".

I am not insisting on anything at all. I am just trying to participate in producing a stand-alone application program to run on the laptop.

>But, in general, I think you are going about this all the wrong way.

I do not claim to be perfect. I am only too willing to learn.

>A reward/punishment framework like this testing program is not consistent with constructionist principles.

Where does punishment come into it? The article includes the following.

Feedback is either that the answer entered is correct or the correct answer is provided. Please note that the program does not state Incorrect or Wrong.

>And designing a program needs to begin at the beginning, not start with translating strings that may never appear in the program or which may have to be changed after testing shows that they confuse the kids.

Well, I have a lot to learn. Will you help implement this application program please, publishing the source code please so that people can learn?

There are sets of strings in four languages already.

If, upon testing, the strings need changing, then so be it: you could have an expert write the strings in the light of the testing and then put them in this or a second page for the program and ask if people could please supply translations for the new strings.

Maybe the whole process will be valuable experience in producing application programs for the laptop. If guidance needs to be given on how to proceed then please give it.

It would be interesting to read your comments on The ready-to-test idea as that is an idea that could have far-reaching benefits if it is regarded as a good idea and implemented and to do so would need application programs like this one.

pull together people

please, all of us are here for one purpose, to attempt to create a good application, where the children can learn a little mathematics, and if we can show that this application can work, then it might get included into the OLPC distribution. Lets not have the finger pointing game, but be sensable and discuss matters in a sivelized manner. Afterall, we are all throwing in ideas into the pool and seeing what other people think of them.

I do not think we should rely on the ready-to-test idea, to make us or break us, but that if and when the ready-to-test is successful, we could incorporate it into our application.

I know nothing about python and the graphical toolkit, but if we can get something working in the standard terminal this would be a good startingpoint.

The talk about making it more like a game is a good idea, but if we start simple, we can build on our achievements as we go along, making it more intresting for the children.

Would it be easier if we got a mailing list? .. to speed up communication and possibly throw around some python code. Does anyone know how we might get one?

IS THIS PAGE DEAD?

Doesnt anyone want to contribute?

I think the page should be deleted. It is mainly the idea of one person who doesn't understand the constructivist approach and who seems unwilling to actually code up the idea. In my opinion, losing this page will not harm the wiki.--Memracom 13:45, 12 January 2007 (EST)
Well, as the person who started the page, it is probably me about whom the comments have been made. The project made a request for ideas from people and this one was provided. Perhaps the first post of 07:08, 16 May 2006 might help in the consideration of whether the page should be deleted. Well, I don't understand the constructivist approach: the request for ideas had no such requirement. I am not unwilling to code up the idea, it is that I do not know how to do it. I have programmed computers, mostly small scientific applications using Algol, FORTRAN, Pascal, Ada, Forth, Modula-2, Visual Basic, C and Java. Yet I do not have the knowledge and facilities to get this application program implemented. I wish I did. Yet surely it is not about me and whether or not I understand the constructivist approach nor even whether I am willing to code the program, even if I were able to code it: surely the issue is about whether, once the present priorities of getting the laptop implemented and getting the operating system running and getting laptops deployed are achieved, when people pause and consider how to proceed with the project, will the ready-to-test idea be formally considered and perhaps found to be a good idea which could have great benefits and will this application program idea be formally considered in that context and perhaps found to be a good idea which could have great benefits. If the idea is not wanted on its merits then that is one thing: however, I suggest that the idea should not be rejected on the basis that the person who suggested the idea does not understand the constructivist approach and cannot code the idea. The project has people who do understand the constructivist approach and has people who can code programs and maybe would be able to code this program. So, please assess the idea on its merits and not on what the person who thought of the idea understands or is able to do.
What does harming the wiki mean? Would keeping the page harm the wiki?
This application program could be important if the The ready-to-test idea is taken up by the OLPC management and becomes implemented. The ready-to-test idea has not been commented upon thus far, whether by the OLPC management or otherwise.
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