[Health] Datastore/Journal + [IAEP] Coloring books on the XO?

Brian Jordan brian at laptop.org
Sun Jul 13 02:57:49 EDT 2008

On Sat, Jul 12, 2008 at 2:32 PM, Seth Woodworth <seth at laptop.org> wrote:
> How do you feel about providing coloring books like activities in sugar?
> I've found material from the American Red Cross on Disaster Preparedness in
> around 20 languages[1].  I feel that it would be fairly trivial work to
> create a template for children to color in in another activity (hopefully
> the wonderful painting activity from ICDL).  Is this work worth doing?

Simple to do, and it seems the appeal is that it would make getting
used to the touchpad/whatever-input-method-works-in-this-imaginary-scenario
a palatable process for veryveryyoungkids while displaying useful
information. I say get it done and make it available--but consider
simply adding image overlay capability to Colors[1]. It can already
overlay a snapshot from the video camera, so holding up any
picture/piece of nature/drawing to the camera can accomplish a similar
(and more open ended) feat.

This is One More Thing that would be a lot simpler and extensible with
a more flexible journal/datastore (meaning storing Pictures, Audio,
Video, Data [csv files], etc in a way that can be shared between
activities). It seems to my uninformed self that, presently, the
activities are constraining the output. (Disclaimer: I haven't gotten
that deep into journal/datastore programming yet). I copy Eben... a
couple sentences on where thought on this is headed? (there's also a
video I took of discussion this... I'll forward when I find it)

> Is a coloring book an effective method of distributing information in a
> digital realm?
One interpretation is that it is a passive way of learning to fill in
shapes that have been handed to the child (and those shapes may be
artfully arranged to display informative pictures like in comic

>  Is it a constructionist method or how could it be made one?
Disclaimer: I have read little on constructionism. In fact, I'm not
positive that I used the word constructionism properly in that last

Consider the utility of coloring books. It is to "provide a colorless
guide to draw with a colored medium in and around".

(1) The child has a choice of color for each segment. (unless there
are letters like R, G, etc in the segments)
(2) The child may choose (/struggle) to which extent they color
"inside the lines"

Yes, in (1), there is some freedom (the number of segments ^ the
number of colors), but it is constrained.

How can we take the benefits of coloring books and make them a tool... a hammer.

Make it versatile -- so the child can choose what to over/underlay on
their painting. They can choose a graph they made earlier that day. Or
a grid for drafting a design of their house. Or some Red Cross
pamphlets on the school server. Or a picture of a cat they found on
Google Images (find edges, anyone?). That's utility. That's something
I'd like to have to play with right now. :)

Cheers, night,

> Seth
> [1] http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/0,1082,0_504_,00.html
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