One of the things I've learned the past couple of weeks is that people with a very diverse set of skills, jobs and interests would like to contribute in some fashion to the OLPC project. On this page, I identify ways that we, the development community, can enable those with musical, artistic, and scientific skills to enhance the XO's educational offerings with minimal startup effort (shallow learning curve).
Physics is based on the OSS C++ 2D physics engine Box2D. My brother Eric ported this to Java, with the project JBox2D--it can be run in any web browser with Java installed on the host OS. Ideally, highschool/college physics teachers across the world (many of whom are beginning to utilize 2D physics engines in their classrooms) can (1) utilize JBox2D or Physics (or ActionScriptBox2D (flash), C++ box2d, etc) in their classrooms and (2) download, play with, create and share learning activities using the engine.
This would (a) drive development of open educational physics materials for teachers and (b) give schools that already have computers a way to use them for physics education.
Action items for me (note: from July 3):
- Contact my highschool physics teacher who has used a 2D physics engine to teach and is an active community member of the Connecticut Association for Physics Teachers
- Possibly write an article on JBox2D/Physics for the CAPT newsletter demonstrating the uses for JBox2D in the classroom
TamTam edit, jam and synth have musical capabilities that floored me. If I had an XO when taking my Wesleyan Intro to Music Theory course, I'd have finished my homework in half the time and done much better on my interval recognition and transcription exams :-P.
I will identify 3 ways music teachers and musicians (often one and the same) may contribute to the XO's music teaching offerings.
1. Music teachers can (1) utilize the TamTam suite of tools to teach multi-layered music editing, interval recognition, sequencing and audio synthesis (creating instruments), (2) download, play with, write and share music activities and instruments with other music teachers internationally.
Action items for me:
- Check in what form TamTam is available in a non-"XO-only" format and see if it is simple to install/download on Mac OS and Windows (worst case... on a Boot CD)
- Make sure it is easy to load and save sequences and teaching activities using this
- Contact music teachers via articles in newsletters and other publications showing them how to use these tools in the classroom and what the implications of their work can be when combined with the XO