The Sugar Training Workshop for the teachers at Nirmala Kindergarten was held between 5th and 8th November 2013, two and a half hours each day for the four days. Besides giving an overview of Sugar, the training also focused on some specific activities that cater to children of the age group that we were dealing with (ages 2 and a half to 5 and a half). There were the usual suspects – Record, Speak, Memorize, Jigsaw Puzzle, Turtle Blocks, but also a few new entrants – Letters, Reflection, Nutrition, Tam Tam, I Know India and a new activity that I had developed called Tile Match, which is nothing but a version of Memorize but with all the tiles face-up (not hidden) – better for small kids for whom even making the combination is a mystery, leave alone remembering the position of the tiles. There were eight teachers in the training, which included Sr. Olga, the principal of Nirmala KG. We also spent some time discussing what activities we could use with the special kids from the Resource Room, and the teachers came up with a few ideas – one that matches an existing GCompris activity called Clockgame – in this you have to move the hands of the clock to match a given time that is randomly generated – and another which would let the kids paint or draw within a fixed area (such as colouring within the contours of a letter). The GCompris activities don’t seem to work on the new version of Sugar on the XO (I had installed 12.1.0 for XO-1 – Build 21) but amazingly, worked on my Sweets Distribution on Ubuntu 12.10 (amazing because it has always been the other way round so far), so I was able to show the activity them. It has a few glitches and (like all GCompris activities) would be better with a more Sugar-like interface and graphics, but they were pleased to see it. I’ve started maintaining a wish list on my Talk page for activities which I think it would help to have on our projects here, esp in the India context.
The training went well and the teachers participated wholeheartedly by taking pictures, making audio recordings and their own games in Memorize. But we had the same problem with playing Memorize in collaborative mode as I had had in two previous training sessions – the names of the collaborating players (their XO names) that appear on the left panel in Memorize don’t match the actual XOs. For example, my name is Salil and while playing the game, it may appear that it is my turn to play since my name would be highlighted. Others should not be able to click on any of the tiles since it is not their turn. However, what actually happens is that my clicking gets disabled and somebody else, who is not Salil, gets a turn to play (I cannot click, but he/she can, and who can is found out only by each player clicking and checking). This causes a lot of confusion and there’s no alternative but to abandon the game. Very frustrating, and I’m not even sure how to replicate the situation since it seems to happen randomly. But once I get some time, I’ll see if I can replicate it and predict when it happens, and then log a bug report.
During the training, we decided to start the OLPC project at the school after the Christmas season, in early 2013. Meanwhile, the school would work on setting up the stage for the project – deciding where to keep the 30-odd XOs, their charging routine, as well as a timetable for the use of the XOs in class. At this stage we were not talking about letting the children take the XOs home.