Why call tools "activities"?

MBurns maburns at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 20:58:33 EDT 2007

On 4/4/07, José Antonio <joseantoniorocha at gmail.com> wrote:
> Seems me a bad idea call software or tools as "activities".
> Activities, in Brazil educational sistem, are actions made with tools.
> Example:  scissors, glue, pencils are tools. A "colage" (patch work)
> made with this tools is an activity.

I think this is exactly the point.

In the OLPC mindset, a program isn't mean to be a pair of scissor with which
you create an art project. A program should be the act of creating the art
project, and the fact that you use scissors, glue and pencils should fall
away in terms of usability and design so as to keep you focused on the act
of creativity, not the act of using a computer.

The main program is called Journal, not Abiword (even thoug it uses Abiword
as a component), because Abiword by design is a tool with which you write.
The Journal is meant to focus you on the act of journaling, and ideally the
fact that you are doing this through an application should not be obtrusive.
The same is true of other activties, "watch & listen" are activities a child
does, so too is it an .xo activity that provides this fuction for the child.
The point of using the work activity in place of
application/software/program/tool/package/solution was deliberate, and for
precisely the reason you point out.

Michael Burns * Open Source Lab
    Oregon State University
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