Building a smarter computing culture in Fargo, ND
Chris as decided to become a HASTAC (pronounced hay-stack, hence the title of this post) Scholar, but to do that, I have to be his HASTAC mentor, and both of us must join their collaboratory (i.e. their community website). We are encouraged to blog about our projects, which means we will probably do a lot of cross posting. Below is my first entry on HASTAC; you can find me in HASTAC here, where the links are more likely to work.
Michael Widner’s post Linux, Learning, and Sugar Kids (Sept. 8, 2009) is a bit of a review. He says he found Edubuntu and Qimo to be good, but Micheal found Sugar on a Stick to be the best and most promising. He was looking at the software through the eyes of his four year old, and not a classroom deployment, where the dynamics get a little bit more complicated. But the classroom deployment is also where we and other university researchers can get more involved in the Sugar and OLPC communities as technical experts, software developers, and researchers.
Dr. Jose Icaza blogged about an Sugar deployment (installed on Intel’s Classmate!) in Mexico funded by the MacArthur Foundation and supported by him and colleagues from Monterry Tech, 2009-10. The project website is probably easier to navigate and gives a more complete picture of their work. Their findings were positive:
The research results indicate, with relation to the infrastructure and use of
equipment, that it is necessary to provide a charging station for the computers
when these do not leave the school, so that the battery will last the whole school
day; also that the mouse pad is a better tool than the mouse for children who have
had little contact with computer equipment, and that the combination of Classmate
and Sugar is an effective learning environment based on technology. For the
students, there was a positive impact on the development of both technological
and cognitive skills as they increased the mastery of the Sugar educational
activities. The community Instructors enriched their teaching by incorporating
on a systematic and daily basis the computer and Sugar activities. Further, they
incorporated both individual and collaborative activities with the computer to
strengthen the thematic content of the curriculum. It is clear that the objectives of
the research were fully achieved.
Jonathan Tarr offered a positive assessment of the XO and OLPC when the Give One, Get One program was running.
I don’t see any other OLPC / Sugar / XO activity on HASTAC, but maybe Chris and I can change that.