Developer XO laptop loan or buy - Speakeasy project

C. Scott Ananian cscott at
Tue Jun 12 02:04:13 EDT 2012

On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 4:16 AM, Chris Ball <cjb at> wrote:

> Hi Lester,
> On Mon, Jun 11 2012, Lester Leong wrote:
> > I think it could just be as easy as having a collection of multimedia
> > and gamifying it. I thought of having a set of flashcards with audio -
> > then many things could be done with that. Audio to picture matching.
> > Finish the sentence. Multiplayer races. Pictures in a series to denote
> > context, etc. It could just be that simple. Would be really trivial to
> > implement as well. I even thought of implementing it as web served
> > pages so that the whole thing could exist in website form - in remote
> > locations without Internet, maybe the pages can be locally
> > stored/hosted.
> I like this idea, and I'm happy to see that you aren't trying to do too
> much.  I think develping this as a set of webapps sounds like a fine
> start -- it allows you to work on it more easily with other developers,
> who don't share your platform, too.
> > Anyway, the reason I would like an XO is because I'd like to get a
> > feel for user interface, as well as the limitations of it, from the
> > very beginning. It would help guide design immensely.
> Did you know that it's easy to run OLPC's user interface, Sugar, on
> non-OLPC laptops?  Here's a recent guide written by Simon Schampijer:
> There isn't much (if anything) of the user interface that's dependent on
> the hardware; you can see it all by running Sugar locally too.

Also, for what it's worth: our current literacy deployments in Ethiopia are
using the Motorola Xoom Android tablets.  I've found that writing apps
using HTML5 toolkits is a great way to make them portable across XOs and
Android tablets and educators sitting at their desktops who are in a
position to offer advice.

As two examples, you might look at:
which is the core of a simple matching game for assessment.  At some point
you have to be able to determine if the kids are actually learning
anything, and their speed/accuracy in matching words with sounds/pictures
is a reasonable way to measure this, with good support in the educational

At a different point in the continuum:
is a simple drawing program that helps kids learn handwriting by
recognizing when they draw letters (lowercase only for now, this is a

My experience is that it takes a long time to actually polish an app to the
point where kids will enjoy using it *and* you've tuned all the
'gamification' aspects such that the kid is motivated to do what you want
to do (instead of, say, deliberately choosing wrong answers because the
fart sound it makes it more fun).

      ( )
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