Developer XO laptop loan or buy - Speakeasy project

Lester Leong lester.bleong at
Tue Jun 12 10:50:10 EDT 2012

Thanks guys. These are decent insights. I guess the question is, are
there examples of "gamification" apps that have been successful in the
wild? Perhaps experience and design insights can be drawn from these.

Another thing is, with regards to webapp implementation - I have
thought of using PHP/HTML5/Javascript. Just because I have existing
code that I would like to re-use and because me and my partner have
the most experience developing on this stack. The problem is that PHP
obviously requires a running web server instance - there are a few
lightweight web servers like NanoHTTP that could be used but theres
also the issue of PHP installation and also a DB instance. If this is
feasible, it would be really attractive because then the application
can exist on the Internet and be widely available, but also can be
used "offline" on each XO laptop without much, if any, change to the

Is this feasible? Are there better ways to go about this?

On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 2:04 AM, C. Scott Ananian <cscott at> wrote:
> 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
> literature.
> 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 work-in-progress).
> 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).
>   --scott
> --
>       ( )

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