Immersive Education Summit

Well I couldn’t resist. Aaron E. Walsh sent out an invitation to the SqueakCroquet communities for an ad-hoc Immersive Education Meeting. The Boston Digital Summit held in January covered the Education Grid, this meeting was a chance to review this information for those that were not able to make it to the summit.

Second Life was quite an experience. I had to sign up and go through some training, figure out how to get to Sun’s virtual auditorium and sit down. It was quite amusing to see some people show up on stage and not know how to sit down either, so I didn’t feel so bad. Maybe I should have spent more time in the training.

Aaron, reviewed the details of the Education Grid. The Grid is an education content virtual repository focused on interoperability, standards, and quality educational content. The goal is to provide standards that allow content to be developed to operate in different virtual worlds. These standards must be open source to ensure that content can be made freely available.

Content is just a piece of the puzzle in education. Educators also need tools to be able to evaluate the progress of students. There are a number of general tools that should be developed and made available in a consistent way for each offering. Aaron mentioned, “While it is possible to record everything that happens in a virtual world there is no way an educator could watch everything a student did in an activity that might take 2 hours.” Tools that allow educators to evaluate raw data, to assess progress and to track grades, and to create content are essential.

Quality content will be assured by having a Peer Review of offerings before the become part of the grid. The peers will be selected from the community and people with special expertise will be sought to make sure that the education goals are met, the content is accurate, standards are followed, and licensing is compatible to be a part of the grid.

Licensing and interoperability were the major concerns once Aaron opened the floor to questions. Ownership of the content was also discussed. Aaron mentioned that a not-for-profit organization would own the grid, but that the grid would be virtual and would be hosted by multiple organizations. I’m not sure there was a full answer about the ownership of the content. I would have suggested that copyright stay with the author or developing organization, and that the grid would receive unlimited rights to distribute the content, much in the same way were are trying to organize the Squeak community.

Well I ran out of time but Aaron did a very nice job of wrapping it up just a few minutes over. Thank you! The concept is really a terrific idea. I hope that our communities will join together and support developing freely available virtual world educational materials. Aaron mentioned that other meetings will be held in Croquet, I look forward to that. I hope to see you there. Hopefully that meeting will be just as well attended as the SL meeting.

Brought to you by ESUG!

23 January, 2008

ESUGWelcome

The European Smalltalk Users Group – ESUG has generously agreed to support international smalltalk presentations.

From Prof. Stéphane DUCASSE :

Hi all

as announced at Lugano ESUG is putting in place new action to promote the use of smalltalk http://www.esug.org/promotionactions/publicationpromotion/

PublicationPromotion
ESUG offers 150 Euros for each international conference paper whose concepts involves an implementation in Smalltalk

Rules
• After notification of acceptance, one of the authors sends to the ESUG board the article, a CV, and a brief explanation of how Smalltalk was used
• In case the ESUG board decides to support the promotion, the author has to send to ESUG after the camera-ready deadline a PDF of the article, where ESUG is referenced in the acknowledgment section, including a link to esug.org
• During the presentation at the conference, the author must mention ESUG support
• After the presentation at the conference the author sends to ESUG a PDF version of the slides, where there is a visible reference to ESUG (e.g. theESUG Logo). ESUG will put the slides on the ESUG website
• The author can then trigger the payment by sending an e-Mail to the ESUG board
• A maximum of 3 supported articles per year per institution is allowed

Prof. Stéphane DUCASSE [ | ]
http://stephane.ducasse.free.fr

Open Source Smalltalks: http://www.squeak.org, http://www.gnu.org/software/smalltalk/smalltalk.html
Free books for Universities at http://www.esug.org/sponsoring/promotionProgram.html
Online Free Books at http://stephane.ducasse.free.fr/FreeBooks.html

s3
Workshop on Self-sustaining Systems (S3) 2008
May 15-16, 2008
Potsdam, Germany
http://www.swa.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/s3/

Call for papers:

The Workshop on Self-sustaining Systems (S3) is a forum for discussion of topics relating to computer systems and languages that are able to bootstrap, implement, modify, and maintain themselves. One property of these systems is that their implementation is based on small but powerful abstractions; examples include (amongst others) Squeak/Smalltalk, COLA, Klein/Self, PyPy/Python, Rubinius/Ruby, and Lisp. Such systems are the engines of their own replacement, giving researchers and developers great power to experiment with, and explore future directions from within, their own small language kernels.

S3 will be take place May 15-16, 2008 at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute in Potsdam, Germany. It is an exciting opportunity for researchers and practitioners interested in self-sustaining systems to meet and share their knowledge, experience, and ideas for future research and development.

— Invited talk:

Ian Piumarta: Late-bound Object Lambda Architectures (Viewpoints Research Institute, USA)

— Submissions and proceedings:

S3 invites submissions of high-quality papers reporting original research, or describing innovative contributions to, or experience with, self-sustaining systems, their implementation, and their application. Papers that depart significantly from established ideas and practices are particularly welcome.

Submissions must not have been published previously and must not be under review for any another refereed event or publication. The program committee will evaluate each contributed paper based on its relevance, significance, clarity, and originality. Revised papers will be published as post-proceedings in the Springer LNCS series.

Papers should be submitted electronically via EasyChair at
http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=s3 in PDF format.
Submissions must be written in English (the official language of the
workshop) and must not exceed 20 pages. They should use the LNCS format, templates for which are available at http://www.springer.de/comp/lncs/authors.html.

— Venue:

Hasso-Plattner-Institut (Potsdam, Germany)

— Important dates:

Submission of papers: February 15, 2008
Author notification: April 11, 2008
Revised papers due: April 25, 2008

S3 workshop: May 15-16, 2008

Final papers for LNCS post-proceedings due: June 6, 2008

— Chairs:

* Robert Hirschfeld (Hasso-Plattner-Institut Potsdam, Germany)
* Kim Rose (Viewpoints Research Institute, USA)

— Program committee:

* Johan Brichau, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
* Pascal Costanza, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
* Wolfgang De Meuter, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
* Stephane Ducasse, INRIA Lille, France
* Michael Haupt, Hasso-Plattner-Institut, Germany
* Robert Hirschfeld, Hasso-Plattner-Institut, Germany
* Dan Ingalls, Sun Microsystems Laboratories, USA
* Martin von Lšwis, Hasso-Plattner-Institut, Germany
* Hidehiko Masuhara, University of Tokyo, Japan
* Ian Piumarta, Viewpoints Research Institute, USA
* David Ungar, IBM, USA

— Registration fees:

Early (until April 18, 2008)
* Regular participants: EUR 160
* Students: EUR 80

Late (after April 18, 2008)
* Regular participants: EUR 170
* Students: EUR 90

Intel Resigns From Board Of One Laptop Per Child
By STEVE STECKLOW
of The Wall Street Journal

(reproduced with permission)
January 3, 2008 8:17 p.m.

OLPC

Intel Corp. says it has dropped out of a non-profit project to sell millions of low-cost laptops in the developing world, citing disagreements with the organization’s founder, Nicholas Negroponte.

The divorce culminates a stormy relationship between the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker and the One Laptop Per Child project, which recently began selling a low-cost laptop in African, Latin American and other countries. The two sides had been feuding over Intel’s aggressive marketing of a low-cost laptop of its own design in many of the same countries that the non-profit had been targeting. The OLPC machine uses a microprocessor from Intel’s chief competitor, Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

After more than a year of public sniping between Intel and OLPC, Intel joined OLPC’s board in July and had been planning on announcing a new low-cost, OLPC-designed laptop based on an Intel microprocessor at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But the company has quit the board and scrapped the new machine, according to Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy.

“We’ve reached a philosophical impasse with OLPC,” he said. He added that Mr. Negroponte had demanded that Intel stop selling its own designed laptop, known as the Classmate, and to stop supplying its chips in other laptops marketed to schoolchildren in developing countries. “We can’t accommodate that request,” Mr. Mulloy said. He said Intel favors offering “many solutions” to developing countries, not just the OLPC laptop. He also said dropping the Classmate would hurt Intel’s relationships with overseas manufacturers and suppliers.
Tens of thousands of Classmates have been sold.

Mr. Negroponte, a professor on leave from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, couldn’t be reached for comment. The simmering dispute between Intel and Mr. Negroponte was detailed in a page-one story in this newspaper in November.

The concept of a low-cost laptop for the world’s poorest schoolchildren has sparked great interest from world leaders and technology companies ever since Mr. Negroponte first proposed it three years ago as a way to bridge the technology divide between rich and poor countries. He vowed to get such a device, costing just $100, into the hands of up to 150 million children by this year. But although OLPC has managed to develop an innovative machine, it has failed so far to achieve its target price — the current model sells overseas for $188 — and to attract large orders from governments because of increasing competition. As sales problems mounted, the project recently reversed course on its plan not to sell the device to American consumers. In November, it began selling pairs of laptops to U.S. and Canadian consumers for $399 under a program in which buyers could keep one and give the other to a student in a poor country like Haiti. The program ended on Monday. OLPC has called the program — known as “Give One. Get One.” — successful, but hasn’t disclosed total sales figures.

Mr. Negroponte serves on a committee to protect the editorial integrity of Dow Jones & Co., the owner of The Wall Street Journal that was acquired last month by News Corp.

Old Smalltalk Pics From PARC

29 December, 2007

PARC Browser smallPARC Hardware smallPARC Hilberts smallPARC kids smallPARC Mazewar smallPARC Patterns smallPARC Welcome small

Special Thanks to Craig Latta who recently brought back these pictures of 1979 Smalltalk\Alto from PARC. What fun it is to see these pictures. The originals in terrific high resolution can be downloaded from here.

Argentina Smalltalk 2007

From Hernan Wilkinson:

Hi,

I just wanted to let you know that the Smalltalks 2007 presentations are available at https://www.dc.uba.ar/events/smalltalks/2007/presentaciones
Most of them are in English although not all.
You can look some pictures at http://picasaweb.google.com/smalltalks2007 and http://picasaweb.google.com/WeybridgeWay/1erCongresoArgentinoDeSmalltalk

I wanted to give a public “Thanks” to ESUG for their support (DVD, book, ideas, etc), Viewpoints, Dan Ingalls, James Robertson, John Sarkela and Bruce Badger for the videos. Stef and Noury sent me something to read but finally I did not have the time to do it (sorry). Also, to all the sponsors that helped us with the conference.

Below are some comments we got in the Argentine Smalltalk lists (first in Spanish and then in English, translated by Andres Valloud).
It is very hard for me to find the right words to express how happy we are with the outcome of the conference, not only for the amount of people that came but also for their kindness and technical level of the presentations. Thanks to all.

Hernan
Read the rest of this entry »

Demand OLPC

5 December, 2007

Non-Universal Learning

As they roll off the production line demand for the little education laptop is growing. The OLPC project, created by Nicholas Negroponte, to help teach the worlds children is starting to gain real traction. It sure didn’t take long to run through the first production run! The Give 1 Get 1 program appears to have been a big success. The program was extended through the end of 2007. Don’t wait get yours now!

Over the weekend Peru pushed the demand over the first run ordering 260,000 laptops. We are very happy that the huge potential is being recognized. The stories and pictures of the children around the world receiving their laptops are terrific.

We like to speculate about the benefits that these computers will bring to a world with such limited resources. How will these tools help to enhance the ability of teachers, provide access to materials and resources that help children learn, and eventually eliminate poverty in our world?

It is easy to get the wrong idea about what this computer is, just as it is easy to get the wrong idea of the benefit of the internet. There is so much of the internet that is not good for children. The explosion of new social media has many people asking if letting children on the internet at all is even a good idea. It is true that delivering access to basic software and the internet is of little value and could even be considered harmful. If the OLPC project was about delivering laptops there would really be no good reason to support it.

OLPC is not laptops, it’s software. It’s Squeak and EToys. It’s communications and collaboration. It’s coordination of lesson plans between teachers and with students. This is no regular computer, it’s an education platform geared to enhance the abilities of teachers to teach. To extend the reach of real educators, to provide a common platform so that the worlds brightest minds can reach across the great north-south divide and help teach children that have so little resources. It is a way to share the greatest discoveries of the past with the children of the future. There is no better way to fight violence and poverty than with education.

Children around the world will benefit from the extraordinary efforts of all the volunteers and participants in this very worthwhile project. Children that may even be in your own back yard. Like maybe Birmingham Alabama in the U.S.A. where the city just ordered 15,000 laptops for every child in grade 1 through 8.

It appears the questions about success are beginning to fade. The real question is can production keep up with demand. Demand OLPC today. There is no substitute for the little education laptop.