journal is hard (was Re: notes from the field - Mongolia)

Gary C Martin gary at
Thu Oct 9 18:39:37 EDT 2008

On 9 Oct 2008, at 19:57, Mikus Grinbergs wrote:

> Elana Langer wrote from Mongolia:
>> basically when teachers and students try to find their work (write,
>> record, etoys)  in the journal it is hard for them to locate it -
>> especially if it is more than a few days old. This is why everyone is
>> desperate to save their projects on USB keys.
> My perception of the above statement is that it is an indictment of
> the ability of Sugar (vs. traditional computing) to be a convincing
> tool for teachers (and for the students those teachers influence).
> When users are "desperate to save their projects on USB keys"
> (something that was not a principal intent of Sugar), there is
> something out of whack.

Yes, this is an interesting custom getting started.

I've been installing and running both release and development builds  
on an XO B4 since January. Managed to loose my Journal content just  
once, and that was a development build while I was jumping between old- 
data store and new data-store changes. I still had all the individual  
files but (my best guess), some other necessary custom magic index  
file for the DS had been damaged.

With that said, I've not knowingly lost a Journal entry in all that  
time. I'm tempted to think that in these reported cases, the entries  
are all still in the Journal, and it's the difficulty in locating them  
again that is the primary issue. Given that assumption, making sure  
both teachers and students give their work meaningful titles may make  
a world of difference for them. One thing I like to do is use the  
title to help group entries logically together. Example:

	Turtle lesson plan question 1
	Turtle lesson plan question 2
	Turtle lesson plan question 3
	Turtle lesson plan question 4
	... etc
	Turtle lesson plan question notes
	Turtle lesson plan screenshots

I can then switch to Journal and type 'turtle lesson plan' for all of  
this to appear, or 'lesson 2' just for that lesson plan etc.

You could also use the tag field, and/or the description field, but  
they are currently hidden away in the Journal and not quick enough to  
get to or find.


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