[Server-devel] RIT XS Teacher Reporting Project (Math4RIT)

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at gmail.com
Mon May 4 04:35:15 EDT 2009

Hi Jeremiah,

great to have you people on board... (btw, what's RIT? ;-) ) I have a
couple of brief notes for you below...

On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 2:45 AM, Jeremiah Green <jrgreen118 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Currently at RIT we are working on a project in which we hope to utilize
> modified Moodle modules and a customized XS School Server operating system.


> Our goal is to allow results, or grades, from student activities to be
> readily available to teachers. Based on their wants and needs, the teachers
> can then generate custom reports on a class or student and have the ability
> to determine what types of problems students are finding most difficult. In

Tim Hunt, the maintainer of the quiz module, has an XO and is very
keen on the project. If you guys can help propose patches that make
mod/quiz more usable on the XO (with the XO as client), for example
Browse.xo compatibility issues, screen size usability, etc, I am sure
Tim will be more to help. And he's got a machine to test it on too ;-)

Something very important to note here: so far, the moodle setup on the
XS is pretty raw, but I am gearing it towards supporting exploration
(I'm hoping to add lots of content, or tools for local teams to
add&update tons of content), and what has been discussed on this list
as "narrative" support (basically, organising content, activities,
resources into a narrative kids can explore).

So I am not emphasizing assessment. Computers are very limited in what
they can help assess. Maths is one of the few areas where the
expression of the problems and possible solutions is something
computers can sometimes understand.

In other words, computers generally don't understand most correct
answers :-) and younger children need a fairly "understanding" model
of assessment.

Now, you probably know all this already, as you're probably already
working with pedagogist and k-12 children  :-) -- I'm just mentioning
this because it's easy to just put math questions in a quiz format --
which if you are working with 8 year olds is not quite the "low
barriers of entry, no ceiling" thing we are trying to build. Specially
the "no ceiling part"!

(One good bit of reading on moodle usage with young'ns is Mary Cooch's
blog - and book - here http://www.moodleblog.org/?page_id=19 )

> the end we imagine the XS environment running on an XO itself, allowing the

I take that to be XS-on-XO... in schools where XS-on-XO is used, the
teacher has his/her own XO too :-)

> http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Teacher_Reporting . It's a work in

Right! If you take the XS-on-XO experimental image I've published
recently, moodle is already installed and postgres is installed too.

There is a small problem in that experimental image -- fixed in later
images that I haven't published yet, but I'll try and publish one
today/tomorrow -- that the database & moodle aren't started
automatically. You just have to do (only once)

 chkconfig --add pgsql-xs
 /etc/init.d/pgsql-xs start
 /etc/init.d/moodle stop
 /etc/init.d/moodle start

and you'll be done. Moodle is running, and it'll also be running on
the next boot!

> knowledge, we've been able to install the XS operating system, install
> MySQL, install PHP, with alot of tweaking got Gnome installed and running,

That's a ton of work. Grab the experimental image, dd it to the SD
card, and you're done ;-)

It will have PostgreSQL -- the DB we're using for the XS -- PHP, the
custom Moodle we ship, etc. No gnome, no UI -- there's no RAM for that

In terms of development, from what I understand you'll be changing
code on mod/quiz and maybe on the reporting UI. I've just merged the
1.9.4 code which has all the reporting UI revamp. I haven't tested
mod/quiz or the reporting UI on the XO at all so I'll happily take
patches that improve the user experience with those on the XO ;-)

Two important emails...

Experimental XS-on-XO image -

How to "replace" the installed moodle-xs with a development checkout
to test the latest moodle code and to develop:


 martin.langhoff at gmail.com
 martin at laptop.org -- School Server Architect
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first
 - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff

More information about the Server-devel mailing list