This page describes my plan to package Sugar activities for the XO, as well as develop new Sugar activities. This is part of the Fedora developers XO program.
Wade development team
I have two daughters, Malakai (11 in Jan 2009) is a 5th grader and Saskia (8 in Apr 2009) is 2nd grader. We homeschool the girls in conjunction with a City Schools provided joint study program, Alternative Family Education (AFE). Though that program offers many enriching classes, it is up to the parents/family to focus on fundamentals such as arithmetic and maths, reading and writing, and whatever there isn't a class in that year (this year science and social studies, mainly.)
It happens that the 4th Grade Maths project is a perfect middle ground. Malakai can always use a regrounding in previous grade materials, and Saskia is a stretch learner who responds well to a challenge.
In addition, our neighbors are two sisters the same age as Malakai and Saskia, and I recently learned their family participated in the G1G1 program in 2007. However, they have not been able to figure out how to use the laptops, which I've heard is a common problem -- the experience in different desktop environments making it "harder" for the parents to assist the kids with Sugar, and not having a grounding in the kids figuring this out for themselves.
This gives us four girls in the target age group each with a laptop, as part of the plan, and all have a deep interest in computer gaming and learning. My daughters have pledged to help with the Sugar and OLPC project, and understand that if we do not live up to the responsibility, we'll have to send the XOs on to someone who will do something.
Activity development and testing
We recognize that there is already a thriving XO QA community, but it is also true that their focus is more on the deeply geeky and technical side. They are doing work to ensure that Fedora and Sugar run on the laptop. This provides a framework.
Other than field testing in target countries, what actual children are participating in activity QA? My proposal is to add that capability to the process of Sugar activity development.
In exchange for being responsible for two (2) XO laptops, my daughters and I have pledged to each other to:
- Give most new and existing Sugar applications regular kid testing
- Work with our neigbhors as a group of four meshed XOs to test activities
- Play and test any additional activities that I package
- Likely they will help me select what from the wider Fedora package universe should be ported; they are experienced Fedora users already.
Packaging and testing
The girls are not likely to assist in packaging other than to help pick what other Sugar activities to package. In addition to activity development and testing, I am personally pledging to maintain at least a minimum required set of Sugar packages for at least the minimum required time. My long experience and standing with the Fedora community should support the case that I am not going to take this responsibility lightly. I also pledge to send back/pass on the XO laptops if our family falls out of being able to deliver our promises.
In addition to the packaging and activity testing, I am going to be an active Fedora Ambassador for the XO. My daughters are joining me for the Fedora Activity Day @ SCaLE 7x and LinuxFest Northwest 2000, and are already going to be demonstrating Fedora for kids at the booth -- playing games, listening to music, etc. Having each kid with her own XO is icing on that already tasty cake. I have already met with the folks planning the XO ambassador program, and can act as a gateway to that program, or perhaps start a version of it that includes kids as ambassadors.
As part of my personal blogging efforts, I have written about homeschooling. I am going to write about our experience from a learning perspective, both for me as learning about packaging and activity development, and for the girls for whatever and everything they learn, maths or programming or hours of Tux Typing.