Back from Haiti. Laura and LaReesa have been teaching, plan now is for me to concentrate shooting video and let them and Mary do the primary mentoring. Heard all had gone great while I was gone, but just before class started I found they had a problem where at random times an object would be duplicated on every page instead of being on the page it was supposed to be on. Unfortunately I found out about just before class started, so there was no time for me to look intro it.

Laura started class by reviewing lesson of week before. Went over how to create a book, how to add pages, (which number of kids had forgotten) and how to bring text down to the page. She also reviewed how to make objects and pages appear behind or in front of each other.

Shooting video quickly proved to be problematic. Kids were used to me being able to answer questions for them, and were frustrated to instead have a camera pointed at them while they had a problem. Tried to have Laura and Mary answer at first, but that didn’t really work because of the quantity and complexities of all the problems. Also as I was shooting, it was very difficult to also shoot and also try and figure out problems the kids were having with their storybooks, as both tasks demanded 100 percent of my attention, and impossible to do both well.

Also couple kids definitely did not want to be camera while they were working, Aariyah especially would cover her screen every time I came by and tell me to get that infernal camera out of her face.

Aariyah was also frustrated with drawing with the mouse. She points out her drawings on the bulletin board that she has done with colored pencils and I can see she is an excellent artist, easily one of the best in the class. I tell her that she just will have to tough it out, it will always be more difficult drawing with the mouse, but if she practices, she will get better. Also that OLPC is working on activating the stylus portion of the trackpad, but it’s not ready yet. She basically tells me they can’t get it working soon enough.

Couple of the kids were having problems with having their pages disappear. Seemed to be two possibilities. One was that they were opening earlier versions of their projects, or perhaps their latest version didn’t successfully save. Also some of the kids had been going into the Journal and erasing some of their projects, and may have erased the wrong one by mistake. (I asked why they were erasing their stuff. Either they weren’t happy with it, or they thought they needed to do it so they wouldn’t run out of space on their computer) Would suggest that kids save new versions of their files every class, with the date in the file name to help alleviate confusion. Also told them they had plenty of room on their XOs, so no need to ever erase anything for more space.

Other possibility was that it looked like some of the kids might have been trying to go to an early page by hitting the minus sign instead of the previous page arrow. Obviously bad. Should think about adding an “are you sure” to the minus page command, or at least be very specific of the danger while teaching it.

Another issue – Ayele has created his book on single pages spread out over a number of different etoys projects, and wants to know how to recombine them into a single book. Unfortunately no time for me to stop and figure that one out, as there’s a bigger problem. Over and over again, kids are still having an object they created duplicate itself on every page. Seems totally random, happens to some kids but not others. Totally maddening, as there seems to be no easy fix.

I suggest to LaTiah to try repainting it from one of the pages. There are almost tears, as now the picture she drew earlier has now disappeared from every page. Whoops. Not pleasant. I try a couple more things to try and get past it, but with the pressure of everything else I’m trying to do, I can’t find the answer. Affects a couple other kids and they literally get to the point where they just give up.

Another problem is some of the kids want to do just the minimum amount of work and be done. One writes a story on how he hates his brother which is great, but could easily be worked on more. But he just won’t do it, in his mind he’s done. So I get him and another in the same boat working with the sound recorder, which quickly leads to spirited renditions of “I’m a Rockstar.” No end of fun, which moves on to infect other members of the class also.

It for now.

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