Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Refining Sugar

Ivan and I seem to be on the same page regarding the future of Sugar:

The core mistake of the present Sugar approach is that it couples phenomenally powerful ideas about learning — that it should be shared, collaborative, peer to peer, and open — with the notion that these ideas must come presented in an entirely new graphical paradigm. We reject this coupling as untenable.

Choosing to reinvent the desktop UI paradigm means we are spending our extremely overconstrained resources fighting graphical interfaces, not developing better tools for learning. … It is most important to recognize that the graphical paradigm changes are inessential both to our core mission and to the Sugar core ideas.

On the other hand, I think the first half of his post obscures more than it reveals. I'll be happy if I never have to listen to programmers point/counterpoint on "constructionism" again. It is difficult to calculate how much Seymour Papert's incapacitation crippled the heart of OLPC's mission.

1 comment:

Bill Kerr said...

the distinction b/w collaborative tools for learning (as good) and developing the UI (as problematic) is not clear to me

eg. morphic is concrete, direct and "alive" - that also represents a superior tool for learning even though not a collaborative one (reference )

alternative hypothesis: the core problem is poor research and planning and the perpetuation of a crisis management approach rather than slowing it down, doing some thinking and doing it right

while agreeing that Seymour's accident was tragic and that ivan is confused about constructionism I still see it as better that some of the programmers now have learning on their agenda rather than leaving it up to the "expert" - leave the learning theory to walter would be a big mistake in the current period