My OLPC Journey June 2011
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June 4 I'm starting to receive lots of suggestions about where to go with my activities. In addition, I'm getting a lot of ideas from my weekly session with a Special Needs student. Here's an example:

Simon (not his real name) is currently working on the Turtle Machine. I've noted that his approach is mostly trial and error which doesn't achieve every much. So ... I'm going to try adding scoring to this activity ... 1 point for each pattern mastered BUT 10 points if it is mastered on the first go.

My next activity was going to involve sharing across XO's - I was thinking of Mancala for two players on separate machines. But, on reflection, I'm not convinced that this is the way to go. Sure I agree with the folk who say group work is great but I prefer to see kids grouping around 1 computer and sharing ideas directly.

For example ... take "Castle". I would divide the class into groups of (say) four and explain that groups are to compete for the highest score for (say) the week. A group's score will be the sum of the four scores, or the average or the lowest score. This will encourage the sharing of discoveries in the group.

So, for the moment, I'm planning to revisit my 25 activities looking for further ideas along the lines outlined in my two examples. Maybe you have some thoughts along these lines too?

June 6 Pleased to report that the new Turtle Machine scoring system worked a treat. Simon really rose to the challenge and scored 120 for 12 patterns. I made a slight change ... 10 points even if it takes two attempts. I'll let you know when this version (23) is uploaded to Sugar Labs.

Also, I've added the Castle Group Competition idea to the Castle website.

June 26 Hmmm ... a 20 day hiatus but I haven't been idle! And we've managed to sneak in a 10 day stay by the beach in our old caravan!

Mainly trying out some ideas. Wrote a version of PJ (Peter's Jigsaws) which creates the pieces on the fly - had in mind allowing students to use their own pictures. Sadly it's too resource hungry - a 48 piece jigsaw took nearly 3 minutes to create on my XO 1. Apart from that, it looks like being a difficult task to come up with a user-friendly way of adding their own picture especially if I want it to work seamlessly on all platforms!

I've also been playing around with SimCom. The homepage now includes answers.

And two more activities have been upgraded at Sugar Labs - there's only Appel Haken to go and then there are 6 new activities to be published for the first time.

June 27 Just in time to stop June being picture-free! I've created a wordless Help screen for SimCom. Click on the printer and this is what you get:

June 28 Ahhh ... that's finishes June nicely - I've just uploaded the last of the upgraded activities: Appel Haken.

And here's the Download Summary which also shows that all the versions are now greater than 21:

 22,697 Castle 23
 16,226 Spirolaterals 22
 15,554 Jumble 22
 13,479 Follow Me 22
 12,659 Sudoku 28
 11,124 Numbers 25
 10,959 Turtle Machine 22
  7,061 Boxes 22
  6,596 Tessellations 23
  5,477 Mancala 22
  4,557 Eleusis 22
  4,343 Ominoes 22
  3,312 Trails 23
  2,883 PJ Lite 22
  2,725 PJ 22
  2,578 Shapes 22
  2,186 Rectangles 23
  1,469 Appel Haken 24
    446 PMJ 22