, posted: 28-Jan-2009 13:36
Mel Chua and Walter Bender, both contributor/leaders in the OLPC and Sugar Project world, came to visit Wellington yesterday
Walter gave a short talk on sugar, the software that runs on most OneLaptopPerChild
He spoke on learning, and how if you're going to give every child in the world an ipod, you should also give them a synthesizer to make the music - give a child a wiki with an edit permission, not a pdf. Even though you can read a wiki page as easily as a pdf, the difference is important.
Sugar, which is essentially a window manager with a suite of contributed learning apps, will run on any linux distro now - and those linux distros in turn run on almost any hardware, so sugar can go anywhere, not just the XO laptops.
Sugar enabled "1st class participation" in creation. Children can appropiate the technology - and sugar gives the tools for solving problems, instead of giving out the solution.
Walter compared sugar to crumple zones in cars - don't lock down technology to be unbreakable - if you do this then the crumple zone becomes the passengers, or rather, the users - who cannot change the technology they are using.
Instead, unlock the technology and let the user break it as they wish. Sugar created easy recovery methods who children can break their XO software and then easily and trivially recover back to stability.
Child then become involved in the technology, not just recipents.
Laptops that go home from school seldom need repair. Laptops that get locked up at school are often damaged - the different is the feeling of ownership.
Other related posts:
Mystic Bloggers Predict the Future
The greatest enemy of freedom is a happy slave
Announcement: Linux Conference coming to Wellington next.