Thursday, May 12, 2011

eduJAM! 2011

Last week, I represented the SchoolTool project at eduJAM! 2011, a free software developers meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, organized by ceibalJAM!

It was an amazing experience. The main topic of the summit was Sugar, its development and deployment experiences. As a SchoolTool developer, I was interested in doing some networking with the Sugar community, especially people from Latin America. I also wanted to share our experience collaborating with OLPC deployments, specifically with OLE Nepal, and to meet people I only knew through email or IRC.

And as a member of the Juan Chacón Free Software Project, I wanted to hear about other people experiences. I definitely learned a lot from this trip.

Here are my highlights from the trip (interesting people I met, talked and listened to):
  • I met Adam Holt, who helped us so much and clearly remembered all the trouble we faced in customs when we got the XOs for the Buena Vista community. Adam also showed me the olpcMAP, an initiative for Sugar projects and users to create a geosocial network and share information about their deployments around the world. We also fixed the Buena Vista community marker, putting it in the right coordinates! Thanks to him, I got subscribed to the OLPC Sur mailing list, an OLPC mailing list in Spanish.
  •  Nick Doiron who has worked in the Uguanda deployment and demonstrated a really cool way of using the Memorize activity for teaching maps using electric resistances.
  •  Walter Bender, who recommended that I learn about the Nicaraguan deployment experience and provided a great "Sugar Future" talk.
  •  Martin Langhoff, a core Moodle developer who works for OLPC, explained me how Moodle works. I told him about how Critical Links has been able to use SchoolTool to drive Moodle and LAMS.
  •  Rodolfo Arce, who works in the Autonomic University in Paraguay, told me about the inventory system they built for tracking their XOs and how they extended it to have basic SIS functionality.
  •  Christoph Derndorfer, who did an excellent work translating from English-Spanish and viceversa. I liked his remark about how we should focus on processes instead of tools.
  •  Carlos Rabassa, who visited El Salvador ("the land of volcanos") during the 70's and whose translation work in mailing lists is amazing.
  •  Pablo Flores and the ceibalJAM! team who organized a really great event.
  •  Uruguayan teachers who shared their experience in Plan Ceibal and asked questions about SchoolTool.
  •  The Butiá project for controlling robots using the XO and TurtleArt.
  •  lapix, a really cool tool for converting the XO into a pen + notebook.
  •  The sensors demonstration, using the XO to take a picture when you interrupted a light sensor or for detecting a tuning fork; everything coded in TurtleArt.
  •  The Tools for the community panel, where really shined and I realized maybe we shouldn't be so "close-minded" about technologies like Facebook...
  • and how I'd wish to have something like that in San Salvador.

I hope someday more Salvadorean people interested in Sugar, like Erick Rosales, are able to attend to this kind of event. It really inspires you.

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