SocialCalc on a Stick

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One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is an organization dedicated to create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop (XO) with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. As community engineers associated with this unique proposition, we have constantly evolved our programming skills to align ourselves with the mission statement and develop software for educational purposes.

SocialCalc is a spreadsheet activity developed for functioning in the Sugar environment, OLPC’s software paradigm. Initially coded by Dan Bricklin, Founder and President of Software Garden Inc. for Socialtext, Inc., the OLPC part was started by Manusheel Gupta, Managing Director of SEETA with K.S. Preeti, community friend of SEETA and alumnus from NetajiSubhas Institute of Technology and Luke Closs from Socialtext Inc. under the guidance of Walter Bender, Oversight Board Member at Sugar Labs.

The main idea of the Spreadsheet activity is to include features that would enable children to make easy use of the typical features of Spreadsheet activities such as organization, graphing and simple calculations in their respective languages. The main features of this spreadsheet activity are:
• Tabulation
• Organization
• Graphing and Calculation
• Localization in different languages
• Multi-user editing over the mesh network
• Ability to read and edit single sheet Excel 1997-2003 (.xls), Lotus (.wk4) and other popular
spreadsheet files
• Optimization in saving of sheet data.
• Collaboration over the Cloud
• Chat integration

Over time, SocialCalc has grown to become an innovative platform over which we have experimented on several accounts of collaborative learning. The basic framework of the application is as follows:
• Application – Spreadsheet activity called SocialCalc, written in JavaScript
• Platform – Python, integrated through XOCOM Library
• Infrastructure – XO Laptop and School server

Publications:

"SocialCalc: A Spreadsheet Activity for Computer Supported Collaborative Learning", Manu Sheel Gupta, K.S. Preeti, Vijit Singh, Proceedings of the 2010 Conference on Frontiers in Education: Computer Science and Computer Engineering, FECS 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A., CSREA Press 2010, ISBN 1-60132-143-0, pp. 304-309 URL - http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/db/conf/fecs/fecs2010.html

"Implementation of Private Cloud Computing using Integration of JavaScript and Python", K.S. Preeti, Vijit Singh, Manu Sheel Gupta, The Python Papers Monograph, The PyCon Asia Pacific 2010, Singapore Management University Download URL - http://ojs.pythonpapers.org/index.php/tppm/article/view/149/161

"Spreadsheet on Cloud - Framework for Learning and Health Management System", K.S. Preeti, Vijit Singh, Sushant Bhatia, Ekansh Preet Singh, Manu Sheel Gupta, Proceedings of the EuSpRIG Conference "Spreadsheet Governance - Policy and Practice" ISBN : 978-0-9566256-9-4

Deployment in Uruguay - Plan Ceibal OLPC Deployment Project, Uruguay - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7cPHg4XJKY

Community work with FCC (Federal Communication Commission) -
http://purplemotes.net/2009/09/13/universal-social-access-to-data-and-calculation/

Training Video by Dan Bricklin - http://www.peapodcast.com/sgi/socialtext/sctraining1/

Download - SocialCalc on Sugar page at Sugar Activities Catalogue - http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4084

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Manu Gupta
  • Type of entry:
    team
    Team members:
    Manu Sheel Gupta is the Founder and Chairman of the Software for Education, Entertainment and Training Activities and Co-founder, Director at Aspiring Investments Corp. Gupta has served as the former South-Asia Liaison at One Laptop Per Child(OLPC), where he acquired a wealth of experience in numerous technical and leadership roles. He worked closely with the governments and organizations in India and Sri Lanka to help build OLPC foundations in these countries. In the social profit sector, he has worked as the Director, Business Development at India School Fund. He has led efforts in developing environment friendly peer to peer software, and coauthored paint, spreadsheet, and e-book readers for OLPC laptops. He is a network security and ethical hacking certificate holder and an open source enthusiast.
    Outstanding previous accomplishments
    Constructionist Learning using Spreadsheet based models on Tablets
    Conference Proceeding- Sixth International Conference of MIT’s Learning International Networks Consortium (LINC), MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

    Collaborating Towards Learning, Using Social Spreadsheets for Health Education and Community Awareness
    Conference Proceeding- Sixth International Conference of MIT’s Learning International Networks Consortium (LINC), MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

    Special Award Presented to SEETA, 24th Global Contest, South Korea
    The award was presented to SEETA on behalf of its remarkable results at 24th Global Software Contest hosted by IPAK and NIPA, South Korea.

    Adviser/Mentor - Walter Bender is founder of Sugar Labs, which develops educational software used by more than three-million children in more than forty countries. Sugar Labs is a member project of the non-profit foundation Software Freedom Conservancy. In 2006, Bender co-founded the One Laptop per Child, a non-profit association with Nicholas Negroponte and Seymour Papert. As director of the MIT Media Laboratory from 2000 to 2006, Bender led a team of researchers in fields as varied as tangible media to affective computing to lifelong kindergarten. In 1992, Bender founded the MIT News in the Future consortium, which launched the era of digital news. Currently, he is launching a new initiative at MIT, the Open Learning Program, a forum for collaborative research among universities globally.

    Bender received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1977 and a masters degree from MIT in 1980, where he built the Electronic Publishing research group. He was a founding member of the MIT Media Lab, where he was a Senior Scientist and holder of the Alexander W Dreyfoos Chair.

    Bender serves or has served on numerous boards and committees, including IBM's mobile computing advisory board and the GNOME technical advisory board. He is on the advisory board of the Squeak Foundation, the Center for Educational Technology (CET) in Israel, and Libre Corps, a new program at RIT that builds long-term, on-going relationships between university students and humanitarian organizations. He has held visiting faculty appointments at international universities, including the University of Tampere, and continues to serve on university research advisory boards and on occasion teaches at Hult and MIT Sloan business schools. Bender's book, Leaning to Change the World, on technology. learning, and social entrepreneurship was published in 2012.

    Daniel Singer "Dan" Bricklin (born 16 July 1951), often referred to as “The Father of the Spreadsheet”, is the American co-creator, with Bob Frankston, of the VisiCalc spreadsheet program. He also founded Software Garden, Inc., of which he is currently president, and Trellix Corporation, which is currently owned by Web.com. He currently serves as the Chief Technology Officer of Alpha Software.
  • Profession:
    Engineer/Designer
  • Manu is inspired by:
    Education Goals
    OLPC Localized Keyboard is useful only to the extent it is used by the learning community. Thus, we are working with educators around the world to focus on these learning challenges:

    To make OLPC Localized Keyboard and OLPC Localized Keyboard projects freely and readily available to learners everywhere
    To explore and share best practices
    To provide a forum for discussion and support for technology for learning
    To provide mechanism for evaluation and dissemination of results.

    Technical Goals
    OLPC Localized Keyboard supports the notions that learners should “share by default” and be able to “explore, express, debug, and critique.” Thus OLPC Localized Keyboard puts an emphasis on “activities” rather than “applications.” The foundation will focus on solving the challenges that are relevant to these aspects of the interface, namely:

    To make it “simple” to share OLPC Localized Keyboard activities. This will require an architecture that allows discovery of activities.
    To create versions of OLPC localized keyboard that run on multiple operating systems and on multiple hardware platforms. It should be “simple” to install OLPC keyboard everywhere. Specifically, it means packaging for every distribution and every virtual machine—removing hardware-related dependencies wherever possible.
    To make it “simple” to write Sugar activities. This necessitates stable APIs and example code that uses these APIs.
    To make OLPC keyboard activities even more secure. Our principal user community is comprised of children; they must be protected from malware, phishing, botnets, etc.
    Community Goals
    OLPC localized keyboard is here to support community innovation, entrepreneurship, and enterprise. OLPC localized keyboard would like to help community members start projects that help sustain and grow the OLPC localized keyboard technology and learning communities:

    To provide local and regional technical and pedagogical support.
    To create new learning activities and pedagogical practice.
    To provide localization and internationalization of software, content, and documentation.
    To provide integration and customization services.
  • Software used for this entry:
    Sugar Platform
  • Patent status:
    none