We have a guest blog today from a intrepid woman at Sun who took time out of her day job in VLSI research to conduct a volunteer project using Wonderland. In only two weeks, Gilda and her colleague in Chile put together an experience that two groups of second grade children, their teachers, and a host of volunteers are not likely to forget. Here’s a bit about the project in her own words.
Guest blog contributed by "Hello Buddy/Hola Amigo" project lead Gilda Garreton from Sun Microsystems:
"Wonderland with Kids" – that was the name of our talk at the JavaOne Community Corner on May 6th where we presented our experience using Wonderland with kids.
Our Wonderland project took part during Sun’s World Wide Volunteer Week (WWVW) April 26th – May 4th, an event organized by Sun Global Citizenship. The project was titled "Hello Buddy/Hola Amigo." The main goal of the project was to bridge the gap in the digital divide among kids by improving their second language skills through the use of games. The project consisted of connecting two primary schools using Wonderland, one in Fremont, California and the other one in Santiago, Chile. Inside the Wonderland space, the kids in California were supposed to play a series of games like tic-tac-toe and hangman to communicate with their buddies in Chile.
Together with Juan Carlos H from Sun Chile, we originally envisioned designing our own space in Wonderland that would resemble classroom areas. Between the original plan and the actual implementation, we encountered a few issues mainly because we were not familiar with Wonderland and we had only 2 weeks to implement the entire project. Even though we didn’t do all the things we planned on, it is fair to say that it was a great experience from both the users’ and the developers’ perspectives. We did face some challenges related to the space design, software installation and network bandwidth, but I think we still managed to create a nice environment for the kids. They had a blast with the experience and they are more than happy to try again if they get another chance!
Details about this WWVW project can be found in http://wikis.sun.com/display/HelloAmigo, including links to our pictures/videos and the JavaOne Community Corner presentation. For those curious about what "Wonderland with Kids" looked like, below are few pictures taken during the project.
Images Copyright 2008 by Sun Microsystems
Finally, many, many, many thanks to the Wonderland developers for their unconditional help. We wouldn’t have done it without them!