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[school-discuss] Contributing to GCompris based on English Phonics from FreeReading.net?
Lately, I have been teaching four 8 year old neighbors English with an
old teacher-friend who just keeps getting better, GCompris (J'ai
Compris or "I have understood"), on Ubuntu 12.04 for practice and
rewards. GCompris is not simple and not just for one age-group, but I
can simply say that it sure gives 8 year olds a fun kick. They love
it! Tux Typing, Tux Math and Tux Paint are simply wonderful. The
image games are cool; there's listening and even braile. There's
incredible variety and depth in this collection (including chat and a
word processor). Coudos to M. Bruno Coudoin.
Of course, no great work of software is ever done, and, as deep as it
is, and as I'm sure Bruno would say, GCompris could be extended -- or,
a word I use a lot, "gardened." For example, I noted that despite
having some very useful games for learning to read, it lacks real
teaching of phonics (at least for English). One of the problems in
filling this gap is that teaching reading well is not something you
know just because you can read yourself. So, it would be a large and
challenging job to come up with a really useful system.
Then, recently, I found freereading.net. Freereading.net is open
source and has actually been approved for use in the early reading
curriculum of the U.S. state of Florida. I think this is quite
astounding and exciting! I think kids need to make their own cards,
not just use the fancy ones made by artists if they're going to get
the sounds into their heads effectively. But, be that and other
possible objections by teachers as they may, this system is ready now
-- and properly licensed. It got me wondering whether we could cook
up something based on freereading.net to augment Bruno's collection.
He's done such a good job getting it included on distributions and
making sure that versions exist for non-Linux folks that contributing
to his project seems like a good way to ensure that the work would be
be exposed widely.
So, when looking into how to contribute to GCompris, I found an
interview with a young woman who had the skills and smarts to add more
musical activities under the Google Summer of Code's auspices last
year. It sounds like she was lucky enough to have Bruno as her
mentor. I thought people on this list would enjoy reading it and
perhaps get inspired. It bugs me that even a bright computer studies
student wouldn't have heard of Gnome before college/university.
Anyway, I see this as a place where we could involve students in a
project for the benefit of their younger siblings and friends and
which would teach them about coding and working on a free/open source
project. To me, that's always been the goal of schoolforge. Is there
someone or some group of people who would act as mentors for the
various parts of such a project? From the hip, I'd say that we need a
coder, a reading teacher and a project manager at minimum. What do
you think? (We can talk about teaching reading to older students next.)
If nothing else, I think you'll see how useful the artwork could be:
cell: 084 329 1183
messages: 02 693 8244
91 Sutthisan, Dindaeng, Dindaeng, Bangkok 10400
Sustainable Learning Technologies
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