Sunday, January 21, 2007

Etoys kid-tested on XO

I brought my green machine home this weekend, and my twins had fun with it. Enormous fun in fact for the two 7-year olds, pounding on TamTam furiously. I couldn't bear it anymore after half an hour or so.

Instead, I showed Jakob how to make a little figure bounce around on the screen in Etoys, while his sister went to practice her cello. He painted a simple head, and then we used the "forward by" and "bounce" tiles in a tiny two-line script making it move around. I made the mistake of pointing out that the "bounce" tile can produce some noise when bouncing. Endless fun trying the different noises ensued. Oh well.

Disturbed in her practice by these noises, Sophie came over and wanted to paint, too. So we saved Jakob's project and started a new one for her. I sat back to work on my email and let her brother teach. She spend like half an hour just painting the figure. The paint tool showed that it is not tuned to the XO's display resolution yet, it's far too small. But not giving up that easily, Sophie was erasing and repainting it over and over until she was satisfied with her "cow girl". Then Jakob proudly told her how to let it move and bounce, he had rembered almost everything needed. Together they quickly made it work, and just started exploring the noise-making possibilities again when we were saved by the call to dinner ...


Anonymous said...

Can you give any more details about the interaction of the children and the OLPC? I was wondering how difficult it would be to get a hold of one of the green machines to do some testing at our elementary school but I was curious if it was intuitive to use.

Were there any other bugs or issues with the laptop that still need to be addressed?

Vanessa said...

Well, the Laptop UI is still pretty rough, alpha-quality. It's not fully fleshed out, introductory material is missing, etc. This is because the Sugar UI is a completely new development. But it is progressing at a fast pace.

Etoys is much more mature and works pretty well, because it has been under development for years already, and is only being ported to the laptop environment. It is not fully integrated with Sugar yet, and we need lots more content for sure.

As for getting a green machine, OLPC is accepting project proposals.