[squeakland] education team meeting notes

Rita Freudenberg rita at isg.cs.uni-magdeburg.de
Mon Oct 5 18:34:59 EDT 2009

Hi all,

here are the meetings notes from our education team meeting from lst  


Kathleen, Avigail, Randy, Cherry, Bert, Tim, Rita

1. Release notes

The release notes for the new Etoys version have to be written. There  
is a list of what has changed in the new version: http://etoys.laptop.org/src/ChangeLog
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And then there are some other changes (like added languages ec.) which  
is here:

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Our task as the education team would be to tell the users what has  
changed in the new version, but in a way they can understand it. This  
is what Kim wrote for the last Etoys version:

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Rita will go through the list and write up a first version.

2. Showcase

The second part of the meeting was devoted to discussions about the  

Randy suggested to have an explanation on the top of the screen about  
how to vote and to have a submit-button on the page. Tim pointed out  
that this is related Issue SQ-472 in the tracker.

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Cherry asked, if there will be a button to enable or disable ranking.

We then had a longer discussion about if we want to rank projects or  
not. Kathleen and Avigail are strongly against ranking (mostly because  
they don't want to discourage children, and it is very difficult to  
rank a project from a child and a project from an expert because these  
cannot be compared to eachother), Randy, Cherry, Bert and Tim are in  
favour of it (feedback will help children to learn more, ranking will  
help users to find good projects easily). Rita would like to not  
haveevery project ranked.

Tim pointed out four points without consensus yet:

1) whether the "featured" and "everyone" sections should have  
different names, different looks, different rules, and different  

2) whether "everyone" projects should be ranked at all

Kathleen wrote an email where she explained the reasons why ranking  
projects could be dangerous. Rita pointed out that submitters should  
decide if they want their projects ranked to lessen the burden of the  

3) whether moderation (hiding a project due to inappropriate content)  
should be separate from ranking (giving points to projects to allow  

Tim asked, if just moderating really could be faster then ranking.

4) whether to show account levels with colored dots, and if so, how to  
calculate them

We didn't get to this point in the meeting.

Regarding #1:

Randy suggested to follow Kim's idea of having the best projects with  
proper guidance and explanation in the featured section.

The teams agrees on that.

There is no consensus yet about the other projects. Should they be  
ranked, and how? There was a lot of discussion.

Tim explained that there will be groups, where all members of the  
group could put projects without any ranking (good for use in  

We discussed about approving/unapproving projects some more. A  
suggestion was to rank with negative numbers could mean rejection.  
Bert strongly recommended not to mingle moderation and ranking, which  
would happen because these negative numbers would be used when  
calculating the rank. Tim agreed to put a veto-button in the ballots,  
which is used to reject projects, so that no other person has to look  
at that project.

We agreed on this process:

	? when a project is uploaded, ballots are being send
	? in the ballots you find a veto-button to reject projects with  
inappropriate content (we will write down what is considered  
	? The person, who rejects a project, has to write a comment why it  
has been rejected.
	? The project will be send back to the submitter, who will read the  
comment and a nice email that he/she please should change the project  
and upload it again
	? if the project is uploaded again, a new ballot for this project  
will be generated, so that not necessarily the same person will look  
at that project (but of course that can happen)
To make ranking easier, Randy will write up a list of labels which can  
be used instead of just numbers.

This last point is crucial and needs a bit more detail. Tim wanted to  
unify grading with moderation, so points were given from -10 to 10,  
and an overall negative score means the project gets rejected. The  
group said that rejection should be either-or, so another idea thrown  
into the mix was to rate from -1 to 10, where -1 would mean reject,  
and the non-negatives a rating. But even assigning points merely on a  
0 to 10 scale was deemed difficult (5 should mean "average"). So Randy  
brought up the idea to do away with the numbers and rather have  
"rubrics", that is textual labels to choose from. And not surprisingly  
he was tasked with creating the list 
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Three points further points that were made . . .

1) if we don't rank projects at all in "everyone", how will users find  
good projects when there are thousands of projects in "everyone". Both  
Cherry and Randy made points in favor of ranking within everyone ...  
Cherry, "I don't want to have to click on each of the 100 "geometry"  
projects to find one I like. Randy, "It'll make it easier for the ed  
team to pick projects to feature."

2) if we allow users to choose not to be ranked, what rank will we  
give them? Without a rank, they have a rank of zero unless we choose  
something else. In a list of 1000 projects, 900 of which are ranked  
and 100 that are not, where do the 100 get put? If the bottom, is this  
fair to the 100? If somewhere else, is this fair to the 900?

3) ranking is invisible to the project author. Yes, ranks control  
where in the various lists a project will appear (overall rank,  
subject rank, target age rank, region rank, tag rank). But these will  
be completely different. There is no obvious score apparent to any  
child or adult. Tim believes people are missing this point as they  
object to ranking, either in part or in whole.

Rita Freudenberg
rita at isg.cs.uni-magdeburg.de

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