April 12, 2010
Back from Haiti
I'm back from Haiti, both literally and figuratively. Since the earthquake, nearly all of my time has been spent on the seven Etoys pilots that have started or will soon start in four different regions of Haiti. To follow our progress, read the Waveplace blog and see the two videos at http://waveplace.org/news/. We'll be adding a great many photos in the next few days. Connectivity was very bad, so we are only uploading photos now.
While it may appear that Haiti has benefitted at the expense of Squeakland so far this year, I think quite the opposite is true. The earthquake crisis has drawn Etoys into the center of a conversation that is now happening between many interested groups. I've basically spent the last three months talking, talking, talking. Throughout, I have positioned Squeakland as a source of educational materials. I've depicted Etoys as a learning platform that is very appropriate for a country that has no money for school buildings or materials. In short, I have been laying the groundwork for our fundraising efforts to finish the Squeakland courseware and to improve Etoys itself and its translations.
Along the way, we have also created and tested a brand new set of Basic Etoys lessons, which can be found here:
We have lesson plans, handouts, and sample projects for each of these lessons, both in English and Haitian Creole. Randy Caton has created a mathematics unit that we will use this month in Haiti. We are also creating a Storytelling unit. We will soon have a complete set of the Basic Etoys screencasts in Haitian Creole as well.
Please take the 90 minutes needed to watch these videos and let me know what you think. We will soon begin creating Spanish (and probably Portuguese) versions, so any feedback will have an immediate impact. The Squeakland education team is currently deciding whether to include these lessons in the official Squeakland courseware, so positive comments will also help. Send your comments to squeakland-at-squeakland.org.
* software team: Mondays at 3pm ET (19:00 GMT) on #etoys on the freenode.net network (or chat.squeakland.org)
* business team: Wednesdays at 3pm ET (19:00 GMT) by Skype ... send me a private email if you wish to join the team
* board meeting: as soon as we can schedule it
As always, the minutes or transcripts from all of these meetings will be available on our wiki or chat logs.
Thanks everyone. My humblest apologies for being unavailable over the last three months, but now that I am on the other side of the mountain, I can say with certainty that Squeakland will benefit from this unexpected detour.