I’d like to break away from my usual format to get straight to yesterdays events (Day 26, 2009.07.20) at the Open Source Schools Unconference, which turned out to be a complete success and a very fun day out to Nottingham!
As already mentioned by Andy yesterday, we (Andy, Cornelia, Karl Beecher and I) arrived to the conference, and as greeted, were told that of the many talks that were being done, the OLPC / Sugar / SoaS talk wasn’t going ahead as planned, as unfortunately the speaker had come down with swine flu.
We were then asked if Andy and I could step in to do the talk instead, which came as a complete surprise to both of us! With mixed feelings of anxiety and excitement at the prospect of doing an unprepared talk, we both agreed we would be happy to attempt to present what the project was all about, which at the same time would give us a chance to plug our very own Codex 2 project, and hopefully raise awareness of the OLPC project.
The day was filled with some very interesting talks on a range of different subjects concerning Open Source Software, which due to the nature of the unconference being centred around schools, often included the use of software in learning environments. This seems entirely acceptable considering the majority of participants were teachers or those involved in local education authorities in some way.
This meant that many of the ideas on display included how technology could be better implemented in a school environment, development of the curriculum, use of more open source software in schools or in general and using technologies where needed as an aid to learning. An interesting book I was referenced too was Mindstorms, written by Seymour Papert in 1980, which after a little Googling, can be located here for free (I think).
One of the most interesting Software speeches I heard was about a developing program called Scratch, and as described by the website is a;
“new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art…. Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills.”
As with many of the talks done during the day, things were recorded, and people were busy Twittering away. The main conference was streamed live, and taken from the oss link, it is possible to go through the videos and twitters uploaded through out the day, for example the Scratch Presentation can be found here (starting around 1 minute into the video).
It may seem a little silly going through old twitters, but actually there are some useful links posted by participants, such as slide presentations or external links on subjects being discussed at the time.
Our very own OLPC talk, I think, went well of all things considering we had no preparation, and half way into the talk, the participant who originally was asked to do the talk stepped in, creating a kind of group at the front.
With 3 laptops and 1 XO laptop on the front desk, we managed to put out the important information with the help of Karl and Cornelia which included what the OLPC project was, what Sugar was, a live demonstration of the XO Laptop along with live demonstrations of Sugar on a Stick running from a pen drive and emulated.
I’m sure I remember a couple of videos being taken of us along with photos (which I blame for any mind blocks during my talk), which I am unable to locate at the moment, but I’m sure will surface eventually – funnily enough we were also interviewed by some local students from Hamble College who were also at the conference to cover the day. By logging in as a guest, you can see some interviews with some of the speakers from the day. My guess is that unfortunately, Andy and I didn’t make the cut to be posted on the site!
We were also able to hand out during the talk and over the course of the day, the official Codex Flyer (PDF Format) that Andy and I created last week, in an attempt to sum up all the pieces of the project puzzle into an attractive format.
The flyer itself is part of a new forked GitHub repository I have made from last years Codex project, which we will be adding too with new content such as tutorials.
I realise this is a slight monolith of a blog post, but on one last note, I have added last years Codex Wiki link, courtesy of Joss, which we will be updating over the remainder of the project with relevant information on the 2009 project.