Hi All,

Here are my notes from today's class. Anurag will send out notes on
what we did in class so I will focus on UI and usability comments. I
also recorded the post class warm/cold comments.

Sorry I didn't get a chance to get on IRC after the class as planned.
We got "local" collaboration working well so we will go with that and
stop debugging Jabber issues for now.

About 10 x 3rd graders were in the class today. This was their second
time with Sugar. Caroline led the class as Walter is travelling and
several kids asked "where is the other guy?".

The main activity was to get pictures of states of wikipedia, then put
those in Memorize and create games (e.g. picture of Texas, word
"Texas" makes a match) and share the memorize so two kids can play

Warm/cold post class comments:
Collaboration worked well. Kids were able to join each others games
and reload games as needed. They could change partners easily too. The
importing map from Wikipedia worked well. They quickly understood how
to switch from browse to memorize and how to save and access things
from the journal. They retained a lot fo what they learned before.

3 person collaboration didn't always work.

Collaboration added to the kids engagement. They learned a lot about
state names and the drilling aspects seemed to help them remember.
There were multiple steps but they seemed to handle it well. It would
have been harder with fewer adults to help each kid but every kid got
it. Went great overall.

3 or person collaboration worked sometimes but not always. May have
been a work flow thing (e.g. if two already playing third has to wait
until end of game to join). The loading and customization of USB
sticks was labor intensive.

Fun time and impressive production by the kids in terms of creating games.

Some tasks were hard and kids needed help (see below).

kids were enthusiastic. They learned how to spell state names. Kids
helped each other out.

Sometimes when switching partners, some kids were left out.

Usability comments from me.

Educational Context
The kids really wanted to know what to do next. If they didn't know
where to click to download an image they would just sit and wait or
get distracted or ask a teacher or me. With several kids asking you
something at the same time and poking you for your attention, its a
little overwhelming: what do I do now?, how do you spell Louisiana?,
how do I go back to memorize?, etc.

I asked the teacher how he handles that and he said he spends extra
time preparing them. Gives exact steps, goes over them several times,
and ask the kids to repeat back what they will do. He can handle a few
kids asking follow up questions but if more than 2 - 3 need help then
it probably wasn't explained well enough in advance.

That was not what I expected. My inclination is to say" go ahead and
do whatever you want. You can do this, but anything you create will be
original and interesting. Of course, to a kid, do what every you want
turns in to run around in the sun and tickle my class mates.

If you constrain it to: in the class using the computer, they want to
know what to do next. They want to do the right thing, finish the
assignment and accomplish their task. So structure and direction is
important. Probably obvious to any teacher but kind of a surprise to

Steps to accomplish the assigned task.
We setup the collaboration and had connected computers in pairs with
Memorize open when we started.

Their task with steps as we intended was as follows:
- Open browse
- Go to WIkipedia.org
- Type in a state name in the search field
- Right click on the picture of the state and choose download
- Click "continue" count down timer ot just wait for download to complete.
- Click OK or Show in Journal
- Open frame
- Choose Memorize
- Choose create tab as needed
- Choose eye icon to upload state image
- Find and select state image on journal
- Type state name in matching tile
- Click Add pair
- Repeat as needed

- Save Game
- Click Play tab
- Open game

Play with friend or variant of choose SHare with my Neighborhood and
have friend find you.

Everybody got it eventually but most needed help somewhere. Examples
of things they needed help with, from kids I worked with:
- Couldn't remember how to start "world" AKA browse.
- Needed help spelling Wikipedia.
- Couldn't find search field on wikipedia because frame was covering half of it
- Needed help spelling state names
- Didn't remember Right click on image to download in browse.
- Clicked on drop down instead of icon (e.g. clicking stop they put
the cursor over the stop sign then saw the drop down text saying
"Stop" then clicked on that and nothing happens. They should click
directly on the stop sign itself.
- Couldn't remember how to get back to Memorize (aka task switch using
the frame).
- Didn't know how to find a game they could join (aka go to network
- Found a person's icon in network neighborhood and clicked on it
instead of the Memorize icon just below the name.
- Didn't wait for popup/hover text when moving cursor around network
neighborhood so couldn't find anyone.
- Wanted to load their own game and share that instead of playing the
other kids game.
- Weren't sure which item in journal was the state image they just downloaded.
- Loaded a picture in Memorize by accident and couldn't figure out how
to get rid of it

Just observations. Any one of these issues would bring the kid to a
complete halt. If they didn't know what to do next they would just
look at the screen or ask for help.

After going through the whole thing a few times they became more
independent.Perhaps these are just things they acquire over time, we
will see next class.

One thing was clear, they are still acquiring the concept of tasks,
applications, activities, and files. Before that, it's just ordered
steps to get to a final goal. e.g. looking at the wikipedia page for
Louisiana is just seeing stuff on the screen. Its not clear that you
are in the browse application that the picture is a file and browse is
a tool to find and download that picture so you can use it later in
Memorize. That innocence is almost gone already. Very soon they will
develop a mental model which is some transformation of how programmers
think a computer/OS is supposed to work.

FYI I came across one alternative interface recently. See the end of
the first paragraph in this post (the rest is irrelevant):

The idea is that you say: "send an e-mail to Joe saying, 'Hi Joe, meet
me for lunch at noon'". Instead of saying, open the e-mail
application, put j...@joe.com in the To field, put meet me for lunch at
noon in the Body, send the e-mail, close the e-mail application.

I wonder if that is better or just an unnecessary obfuscation.


Greg S
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