Our middle son even did up a full squeak/etoys extra-hours project for his grade 4 class and got extra marks
That said, I think the OLPC project only ended up being a shadow of what it could have been, and is one of the great squandered opportunities of human history.
The amount of mindshare the OLPC project had was astonishing at the time, and either through mismanagement or being overly ambitious, it never fulfilled their vision
It would certainly be nice to hear from the kids that had them in their schools in the developing world circa 2006+ and what kind of impact they had
But, then, they'd need to offer support they weren't ready to. Working with governments has some advantages.
RPi is the learning computer that OLPC never was.
Sugar seems to be a good introduction - one of the best that's just not just a normal linux distro with a bunch of edu apps thrown in.
Something like Edubuntu isn't really appropriate for small children - it's a little too complicated.
I don't think the UI is perfect, fwiw
I had insomnia a few weeks ago and was re-reading a bunch of "whatever happened to OLPC" stuff to remember that utter disaster, and AFAIK, the Sugar project is basically just a few people, its now under the auspices of the SFC and its really barebones with almost no hardware support (the last OLPC devices were sold years ago). Even the base image of Ubuntu it offers for the USB stick reached EOL more than 18 months ago.
We can all say this was a nice idea -- but this certainly isn't an active project in the sense that there is developer or monetary investment.
11,531,321+ Activities Downloaded
Significant numbers altogether.
Not quite 3 million active users, but 3 million machines that came pre-loaded with this
If I'm crazy and names don't matter, then why not call it "Cigarette: open-source software learning platform for rug-rats ... from Tobacco Labs!"
A parent that wants to reinforce a consistent "sugar is bad" signal to their kids will feel that such a thing undermines their message.
(Those are the years I happened to know of -- looks like there are more.)
Is this going to revitalize my old XO laptop? (I would really love to be able to do that.)
I like that approach but couldn't find the "show/edit source button" (using the Sugarizer web based platform)
Perhaps a simplified Smalltalk environment would be better?
Not that the UI is very intuitive there, too.
I honestly don't get who thought this was a good idea but it makes me question the UX of the entire product when stuff like that gets okayed.
For those times when you want your child to learn about alcoholic beverages.
From a computer.
On the internet.
so that means as a religiously non-alcoholic family we have shotglasses at home - on full display - on the kids toy shelf and so does the kindergarden.
i have to cringe every time i see that.
The concept resonates - even though I have no children.
One thing I'm not seeing is spaced repetition? It's one thing I'd really want if I DIY learning
2. Spaced repetition is boring, especially for kids.
Yes you don't want a rigid spaced rep schedule...but I'd like to see some of that integrated in a soft fashion anyway
Having said that, here's my point of view. Spaced repetition is not really directly involved with knowledge acquisition. When I say "acquisition" I have a very specific meaning in mind. In recent language acquisition theory there is a distinction between "learning" and "acquisition". Learning means to be able to go from not knowing something to being able to remember something. Acquisition means to go from not being able to use something to being able to use it appropriately without undue effort. Learning does not always lead to acquisition (something that's still not penetrated the organisations that do education, unfortunately).
Spaced repetition is wonderful for learning. You can go from not knowing something to being able to remember something for a very long time with minimal effort. Again, it does not necessarily lead to acquisition. From the perspective of language, to acquire language you need to be exposed to it in realistic contexts where you understand the meaning. Personally, I have found that learning can help with acquisition because it kind of gives you a super fast dictionary to look things up and allow you to comprehend things when you are exposed to them. You need a lot of exposure and comprehension to actually acquire the knowledge, though -- and spaced repetition alone won't get you there. I think the same is true of all skill acquisition, but there is a lot of research to be done to show that (as an example, imagine learning all the rules of calculus -- you still won't be able to write proofs easily, but it will help you to save massive amounts of time when you start studying proofs).
Where I think you might be coming from is that there is a period when learning something where you just can't remember it for a significant amount of time. In most spaced repetition software (like Anki), you go from a 10 minute review spacing to a whole day -- and even going from 1 minute to 10 minutes can often be a jump.
What's interesting about that is that there is a different concept called "spacing" (which is unfortunately very similarly named to "spaced repetition"). With "spacing" the idea is that you will reduce the slope of the forgetting curve faster if you forget something. This is a crazy idea, but it seems to work very well. If you want to read a tonne of papers on the subject, google "desirable difficulties".
So my idea is that you initially want to space a repetition longer than you would for spaced repetition so that you have to struggle to remember it. This will help you learn it faster. At that point you should switch over to spaced repetition. I say "my idea", because there are very few (or possibly none ;-) ) papers that discuss mixing spacing and desirable difficulties with spaced repetition.... If only I were a psychology prof...
Anyway, there is another concept called "Interleaving". With interleaving, what you do is intentionally change the subject frequently while you are learning something. This makes it difficult to remember and potentially reduces the amount of spacing you require to get the "spacing effect". Many papers suggest changing subjects every 10 minutes (which seems crazy -- imagine 10 minutes of math, 10 minutes of English, 10 minutes of Foreign language, 10 minutes of geography, then back to 10 minutes of math, etc, etc, etc -- but the studies I've read show really incredible rates of learning)
But again, the key is that learning is distinct from acquisition -- so while learning is useful it doesn't necessarily lead to skill acquisition.
As for #2 I don't think spaced repetition is boring at all -- especially for kids. Give a small child a cartoon on a DVD. Watch as they repeat it over and over and over and over again. Watch at they view the video today, the same video tomorrow, the same video the next day. It's really incredible. Kids love that kind of repetition.
I get your point that Anki might be boring ;-)
I do. I memorize a lot of stuff (I'm a medical student) and my life will be way less stressful if almost remembering something means you're on the right track.
You probably aren't reading this, but thanks for the pointer.
First of all, before even clicking through, my reaction to the name was negative. To quote henrikberggren's comment: "Naming a learning platform 'Sugar' is like naming a rehab clinic 'Heroin'."
Second, those stick figures look like skull-and-crossbones.
Third, your sample "fun activity" looks less fun than anything a kid with a computer has access to.
Fourth, creating a new user in your Sugarizer demo is an awful experience. It asked me to pick a name first, then let me go through the rest of the steps -- including "choosing" a new avatar color by clicking to get random colors until I just gave up -- and then, at the end, told me the user "foo" already exists.
Fifth, I don't find the UI intuitive at all. When I'm inside an activity, if I want to go back to the activity selection page, I have to click on an octagon with a square inside it. No idea how I'm supposed to associate that with "home" or "back" or any of the verbs I could think of.
Lastly, I tried out a few of the activities and I have no idea how any of that is supposed to help kids learn or collaborate. The "clock" activity just displays a clock. That's it. The "tam tam" activity has a confusing UI, but once you overcome the confusion, you can just pick different instruments to hear their sound. The most confusing was the "maze" activity, because I pressed one arrow key and it solved the whole maze. Later I realized that it follows the path until a decision point and then waits for input, but it's really weird.
I appreciate that this must have taken substantial effort, but I have no idea just how this is supposed to be useful. And let's face it, I gave it more time than an average visitor probably would.
The project has lost a good deal of its funding, from what I've heard, and now has a lot less backing from the technical community (I think Collabora are the only backers now), placing the project's overall management mainly into the hands of educators, who don't tend to be the best at that side of things.
So you end up with things where various parts of their various websites are broken, and there isn't as much well-handled PR going out.
However, they are still somewhat active , but at a much smaller scale. Focusing on individual classrooms as goals, rather than the massively ambitious target of One Laptop Per Child in entire nations.
There are some really cool apps that would be better served in a more traditional Android/iOS style tablet interface. OLPC is/was very pushy about their point of view.
Sugar is mainly built for kids that never had access to a computer before a Sugar-based one (kids in developing countries; so I'm not the target audience either), so that might explain some of your complaints.
There's no clear benefit to visually alluding to a near universal symbol of danger and poison. Especially considering that we really try to reinforce that association in young children. I certainly don't think it's going to cause kids emotional trauma or cause them to later drink whatever bottle of "Sugar game juice" they find under the kitchen sink, but with an nearly endless amount of alternatives why use that one?
I haven't thought of this. Makes sense.
I believe it's "Stop". Stop sign and the square is the stop symbol common for media.
Anecdotally I’ve never seen a floppy disk in real life.
> and sugar is never a bad thing in our culture
Sugar IS bad, scientifically speaking. I wouldn't be surprised if sugar is an important reason for the high levels of obesity and heart diseases in India. In the end, I think we need to move ahead from traditional values and selectively and logically think about the parts of our culture we want to retain.
Fructose in nature , on fruit, has lots od fiber(celulose), that makes release of sugar in the bloodstream slow, that is
Glycemic Index low.
Refined sugar on the other way, specially in dissolved water, like with milk, coffee or soda, release enormous amount of fructose in a very short amount of time.
In nature, only honey does that. Refined sugar was a luxury until 200 years ago.
US by the way produces the worst sugar of all, because it is not fructose, but something they could produce from corn, way cheaper than brown sugar that comes from tropical places.
Fructose also has the best ability to be absorbed by muscle cells without the need for insulin, compared to other sugars.
I think you mean high-fructose syrup, which is not fructose but a glucose-fructose. Contains the same word but is verrrry different in health profile.
It is most certainly not. The soluble and insoluble fiber in fruit is good for humans because it prevents rapid absorption of fructose, which is most definitely toxic. (Paracelsus was right when he said that the dose makes the poison! It just so happens that even small doses of fructose have an outsized impact on appetite.)
Fructose is toxic because it is primarily metabolized by the liver. It has been shown to be at the root of overeating because of its effects on satiety signaling via leptin and ghrelin.
> Fructose also has the best ability to be absorbed by muscle cells without the need for insulin, compared to other sugars.
This is simply false. (Google it!) When used by an athlete after strenuous activity, it is true that fructose replenishes _glycogen_ in the liver, which is released as glucose, which muscle can use. But most people haven't just finished running a marathon when they gulp down a liter of Gatorade. So the effect 99% is to just fatten you up.
I recommend a few educational videos to bring you up to speed on a great deal of science that has been discovered in the last 15 years or so. Dr. Lustig (endocrinologist at UCSF) lays it out:
"Processed Food: An Experiment That Failed": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvgxNDuQ5DI
"Fructose is a poison": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgTlFFWMNy0
> gulp down a liter of Gatorade. So the effect 99% is to just fatten you up.
This could not be further from the truth. Humans are notoriously inefficient at de novo lipogenesis - the process of turning sugar into fat. The myth that sugar causes weight gain (on its own, not accompanied by a high-fat diet) is just that - a myth. Not to say gulping down Gatorade is a good idea, but it isn't nearly as harmful as consuming a steak, or a stick of butter, when it comes to weight gain.
I agree, and it's incredible how much vitrol I've seen in response to this biological and physiological fact.
Here is an example source
> The dietary status of the human species is that of an unspecialized frugivore 
Claude Marcel Hladik, Patrick Pasquet. The human adaptations to meat eating: a reappraisal. Human Evolution, Springer Verlag, 2002, 17, pp.199-206.
And yes, high meat is one thing in modern diets. But dairy/grains/extracted-fats certainly also need to be considered as "foreign to our original diet"
> It's possible to get all necessary nutrition through fruits, leaves (greens), nuts/seeds (and may have once required the addition of insects for which we can now supplement)
I totally agree. Except apes are not known to eat nuts, and are known to eat insects (when a tasty one craws by). So I expect us to be adapted to that as well. As a vegan I refrain from eating insects (although I find it a lot less offensive than eating mammals), so some selected nuts/seeds and a B12 supplement do the trick for me.
> but it's very time consuming and tedious to do so.
Given that we can buy tropical fruit (yay for mango) by the box, and have knives, I'd say it has never been easier.
> And in fact, I don't believe we are well adapted to eating animals.
Obviously. It causes us a lot of diseases. Animal product industry trying to spread FUD in order to stay in business a few months longer, but the end is near for them. And good riddance. :)
Hey cool, I'm vegan too! I agree, supplementing B12 and eating nuts and seeds is way nicer (morally and taste) than eating bugs.
> Given that we can buy tropical fruit (yay for mango) by the box, and have knives, I'd say it has never been easier.
That's a good way to look at it and I agree. However in my own experience, it is still a lot of work. I live in the tropics where it's easy to buy a huge box of papayas, mangos, etc. I did this for about 3 months, eating only raw food and mostly only fruit, and some greens and soaked seeds. My body felt very strong and refreshed, but I spent a lot of time preparing and even buying food to keep it in stock and fresh. I slowly went back to more cooked foods like rice and lentils. It doesn't feel as good, but it's a compromise of time at this point.
massive respect, srsly.
> than eating bugs.
would not know. and something bad needs to happen for me to try :)
> I did this for about 3 months
well done. I'm also experimenting with this. Just not so consistent per day (eat on average about 1.5 non raw meals per day), but managing to keep it up well (1+ year now).
A helpful way I've heard this described is "high raw" Also I think it may be easier to maintain long-term, which maybe you'd agree. In any case I'll always be vegan, no matter how much raw or cooked food I eat. Too many "raw vegans" I've seen revert to eating carcasses.
I tend to call it "borderline fruitarian", sounds better. Finally I can also flaunt my borderlines. :)
Where're you from? Spraak sounds Dutch...
> physiologically we are frugivorous apes, after all
If one does not (cannot) accept this fact, I'm not sure I even want to discuss the nitty gritties of diet that person.
for decades the word has been that fat is bad, now the narrative is slowly changing to sugar. now you are either turning it around again, and if so, i'd like to see the evidence for that. (and by that i mean current studies that prove that other studies about sugar are false) or you are simply repeating what we have been told for decades which has been shown to be false.
If you're interested see Greger, McDouggal, Esselstyn, Fuhrman, they are evidence based "meta study" doctors, that try to bring all evidence together. They also (each) have videos showing how to spot a paid for study (like the one showing butter is not bad by comparing it to huuuuge intake of coconut oil, which no-one does, but then "butter is back" get's printed on TIME mag).
is that then not true?
if not, what is the cause of weight gain?
(i have a terrible olive oil addiction ^_^)
The excess in cals from carbs are only marginally turned into fat (lipogenesis is not something humans are good at) and thus the excess is mostly burnt up by heating your body a bit higher (forgot the scientific term for this).
So the fat you eat is pretty much the fat you wear.
If you eat fat and carbs together (almost everyone does that) then your body will choose to use the carbs energy directly and store the fat. As fat is good for long term storage (unlike carbs, that get stored as sugar for short term use in muscles and liver), and carbs not bee efficiently turned into fat (as mentioned) yet can very efficiently be stored.
so low fat, in the end is actually good for you... sometimes i really feel bounced around by all of these diets that come and go... but i’ll read up on those links and other info you shared.
thanks for the detailed reply
But if one over eat calories but NEVER takes high fat foods it becomes A LOT harder to put on weight.
If one overeats but eats a lot of fats (especially saturated fats) COMBINED with sugars (the softdrink at the snack meal) and COMbINED with inflammetory foods (all animal drive foods and processed foods) then putting on weight is super easy.
Making fat out of carbs (sugars+starches), lipogenesis, is something humans are not good in. Eating low fat is healthy, but do the math because you will easily think you eat low fat without even going under 10cal% from fat (which is like the cut off value for actually a low fat diet — I dont reach that usually, but then I'm not gaining weight).
so if i wanted to prevent gaining fat, the best bet is to keep fat under 10% of carbs, then if eating carbs with say vegetables and (non fatty) meat or fish, i would not gain weight vs a carbs + fatty meat + other oils type of meal (even if calories were equal) ?
You mean cals, not carbs i guess.
If you are interested in this you may want to read "80-10-10".
> and (non fatty) meat or fish
The tiniest bit of fish/meat/oil will likely get you over 10cal% fat. Because there is a little fat in all veg/fruit/etc, which will bring you to 5+cal% without nuts/seeds/avocado. Half an avocado a day, or a small hand of nuts and you already cross the 10cal% in most diets.
You can use cronometer.com to do your research on this. It's fun and enlightening.
wow, that sounds difficult!
> If you are interested in this you may want to read "80-10-10".
thanks, i’ll definitely read up on that!