[Olpc-uk] Boston School pilot notes
martin at martindengler.com
Wed Jul 8 07:27:31 EDT 2009
If anyone interested in piloting Sugar/OLPC at a school isn't on
http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep yet, you're missing a lot.
----- Forwarded message from Caroline Meeks <caroline at solutiongrove.com> -----
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2009 22:23:12 -0400
From: Caroline Meeks <caroline at solutiongrove.com>
Subject: [IAEP] SoaS notes: Gardner (GPA)
To: iaep <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>
Note that is this long but I think its pretty interesting and I've been
trying to share notes with the IAEP list.
First I want to say thank you and congratulations to everyone involved with
Sugar on a Stick. We used it in a real school, with an unmodified computer
lab and real kids and it went great! This is a big milestone.
If you are an activity writer/maintainer take a look at how much information
Walter got out of watching kids use Turtle Art. Consider taking SoaS to a
school near you and trying your activity with kids!
Subject: SoaS notes: Gardner
From: *Mel Chua* <mel at melchua.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 7, 2009 at 12:25 PM
To: Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com>, Caroline Meeks <
caroline at solutiongrove.com>, Anurag Goel <agoel23 at gmail.com>
Notes from today's SoaS lab at the Gardner school - I wasn't actually trying
to take fieldnotes, so these aren't great, but jotted them down anyway. Feel
free to share with whatever lists are appropriate, I'm not sure if there are
any privacy issues with this.
Walter: Each computer has a stick. You'll be able to use these sticks all
summer long. Inside the computer is a turtle, and we're going to teach the
turtle how to do stuff. If you tell the turtle to go forward, what happens?
*Walter walks forward.* If you tell the turtle to go right, what happens?
*Walter turns right.* Later this week we're going to do more stuff with
Kid1: Can we teach the turtle how to walk in a circle?
Walter: You can teach the turtle how to walk in a circle. How would you
teach it how to walk in a circle?
Kid1: Go around and around.
Walter: Let's do this exercise. Stand up. *kid stands up* Take a step
forward. *kid steps forward* Now turn. *kid spins in place* What if you go
step, turn, step, turn, step, turn? *Walter walks in a circle.*
Kid2: Can you make it flip?
Kid2: Yeah, like flip onto its stomach?
Walter: That's an interesting idea! We can make it draw pictures and stuff.
*Children get permission to go to computers, all of them run for a station*
Some children have put the headphones on. All of them are typing in their
name with no problem. Some need prompting to click on the XO-person to
choose a color... and spend a very long time choosing a color. Students
being prompted to cick on TurtleArt; they do so, mostly sitting at the
computer until adults tell them to do something, but one boy has already
dragged out a block and made the turtle walk.
Less than aminute later, this has spread - adjacent children have dragged
out blocks and are clicking on them too. Adults walking around prompting the
other children to drag out blocks and click on them. Some kids are literally
waiting for adults to tell them every time they should click the mouse.
One girl raises her hand, she has a question, she has linked some blocks
together. The girl next to her goes over to her and whispers to her. I'm
going over to the desk, ask what's up - the second girl (the neighbor)
explains the first girl wants to make the blocks disappear. The first girl
confirms this. "How do you make these go away?" I point to the toolbar and
say she can drag them there, she tries it, and then continues to drag and
rearrange her blocks.
Kids are pointing at their screens, at their neighbors screens, leaning over
to see things... I'm not sure if they're copying ideas from each other yet,
but a few appear to be showing their classmates how they made particular
block combinations. Some kids have linked all their blocks together and are
playing with a single stack; some have arranged the blocks across their
screen into a sort of custom turtle control panel and are clicking one
button at a time.
One girl (the first kid who talked today) gets out of her seat and finds
Walter, very excited. She's pointing to the screen - she's gotten her turtle
to draw a circle. The two girls to the right of her have done the same.
Most of the students are still exploring the turtle toolbar, but two in
front of me have discovered the other toolbars and are dragging out bulky
orange control statements (an 'if' block) - they don't seem to know how to
use it, though, and the blocks are standing on their workspace with nothing
attached to them.
Ah! One boy discovered he could link a stack to the bottom of the 'if'
block. But that doesn't seem to get him anywhere, because he hasn't attached
anything to the control statements. He unlinks his stack and drags the 'if'
block back to the toolbar, discarding it.
I spent the next few minutes working with two girls who are trying to
understand the 'if' block. After I show them an example on my own computer
of what the block can do, they try to figure out how to link it together on
their own screens.
One child confused by the graphical error ("you need to attach a block
somewhere") at the bottom of her screen.
At the end of the class, one child asked if they got to take the sticks
From: *Walter Bender* <walter.bender at gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 7, 2009 at 2:47 PM
To: Mel Chua <mel at melchua.com>, Caroline Meeks <caroline at solutiongrove.com>,
Anurag Goel <agoel23 at gmail.com>
Thanks for the write up.
A couple of additional observations:
The kids kept modifying the same project over the course of the 45 minutes,
so all of their intermediary steps were lost. Auto-versioning will help
here, but I will attempt to move the Keep button to the Project toolbar as
well as the Image Save button, to facilitate their keeping occasional
records of their progress.
None of the kids every figured out how to close the activity.
I shut the machines down for them one at a time.
A handful of kids managed to launch multiple copies of Turtle Art.
Some had trouble removing blocks.. they ended up in a pile under the
Quite a few were interested in drawing letters of the alphabet.
Next time (Thursday 9 Jul at 11:30) we plan to use a projector. I will walk
them through using the setxy block to position the Turtle on a Cartesian
coordinate space. I'll show them hw to print the current position and have
them guess coordinates for the turtle. Then we will have them each try to
label the school on a map.
Students were very engaged. These students had not yet been introduced to
angles so I'm not sure if they understood the significance of what they were
doing but I could see this as a way to get there by the end of the summer.
Computers change what math is useful when and students using Turtle Art may
want some geometry earlier then the standard curriculum. They were very
motivated to draw cool pictures.
Kids wanted to erase part of the screen.
The lesson could have been a good an opportunity to introduce them to some
math vocabulary. Ones I know I used were:
We might want to keep track of what words we want to use and see if the
teachers want to reinforce any in class. When we start working on the clock
activity we might want to think through what words we want to use and have
them introduced in class.
Kids wanted to take the sticks home right away. I need to think through what
we need to do before they can do that. We need a parent communication plan.
I was very pleased with the results and it'll be interesting as we give them
more challenge and structure on Thursday.
Caroline at SolutionGrove.com
617-500-3488 - Office
505-213-3268 - Fax
IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
----- End forwarded message -----
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