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Class Four February 2, 2010

Filed under: Vietnam — polyachka @ 9:11 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

When I entered the class room girls were already working on their computers. Two played Chess, one – game Hanoi, another one – some game I didn’t recognize.

I made sure I remember everybody’s name, spell and pronounce it right. All girls showed up but one, whose turn it was not to use the computer today. New volunteer today again, who was late. She didn’t know the address of either my place or the shelter. So I had to guide her. Then she asked more questions than the children. We did Distance activity, which finally worked after we struggled a bit with discontinuing mesh and pointing right computers at each other. We found out that when Distance activity was opened twice, it didn’t work. Everything in that activity was in Vietnamese language, so it was hard for me to tell when to start or stop. And names were changed, so we were not sure whose computer was talking to who? SnowWhite to Princess or Mermaid or Cinderella?

During the class head mistress Yen came in and asked if the girls could write in Vietnamese on their XOs. I said that it is not available now but we will figure it out, but for now they have to use English alphabet only. Girls do not speak English, they only know some words. They can still type as Vietnamese language has latin alphabet base plus some extra symbols.

Then we did Traffic activity. The volunteer had hard time understanding it. I showed my greeting card I created for the girls to wish them Happy New Year, which will be in one week! I asked them to use paint activity to create 5 greeting cards for whomever they want.

They had to add their picture, paint and write wishes. The volunteer asked: “How do they take picture?” I said to her that girls know. Her eyes widened. Then she asked: “How do they add picture to the card?” I said that I showed them yesterday how to do it.

Then she asked about my greeting card that I created: “What is it for? What to do with it?” I answered: “Just to look at, but it is possible to send it by email as well”. Then her eyes widened even more… “It is possible to connect to the Internet with this computer?” I confirmed. She was in shock. I think every volunteer wants to have an XO now.

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4 Responses to “Class Four”

  1. Clytie Siddall Says:

    You should be able to input Vietnamese on any Linux system. Are you sure it is not available on the XO?

    I have also just asked about this situation on the OLPC localization list.

    FYI: Vietnamese requires UTF-8, due to its combined diacritics and widely-dispersed range of characters on the Unicode plane. However, due to the efforts of our community, Vietnamese input is easily available on Linux systems. (It has always been available by default on Mac OSX, a UNIX system.)

    The students should be able to input Vietnamese, as well as use our localized software. It is important that they learn from the start to input correct Vietnamese, not use the very ugly ASCII substitute we had to suffer before Unicode.

    Thankyou for your work with the children. 🙂

    Clytie Siddall
    Vietnamese Free-Software Translation Team

  2. Clytie Siddall Says:

    OK, almost instant reply from Sayamindu on the OLPC localization list:

    “We use XKB on the XO-1s which supports Vietnamese input. However, there
    might be a few hoops to jump through in order to enable the layout.

    The easiest way to do this would be start up Terminal and issue the command:
    setxkbmap -layout vn
    To switch back to the normal US layout (if required), the command would be
    setxkbmap -layout us -variant olpc

    The other option would be edit /etc/sysconfig/keyboard in the laptops
    and set the LAYOUT to vn and the VARIANT to basic.

    Newer versions of Sugar support setting the keyboard layout from the
    control panel (via a GUI), but OLPC does not ship that yet.”

    You can use either of those methods. The most common Vietnamese keyboard layouts use number keys to provide extra vowels and add accents. For example, on my favourite Mac layout:

    1 = ă
    2 = â
    3 = ê
    4 = ô
    [ = ư
    ] = ơ
    0 = đ
    = = ₫ (currency symbol)

    Added accents
    5 = dấu huyền (grave accent)
    6 = dấu hỏi (hook above)
    7 = dấu ngã (tilde)
    8 = dấu sắc (acute accent)
    9 = dấu nặng (dot under)

    Depending on the layout, you press the added-accent number key _before_ or _after_ the base vowel. If your layout doesn’t match mine above, just keep testing keys until you find the Vietnamese letters.

    I strongly suggest enabling the Vietnamese layout by default, before distributing XOs to Vietnamese children. Any adult who’s used a computer in Vietnam should be familiar with the keyboard layouts. If you meet anyone who isn’t, please tell them about the ready availability of Vietnamese input and complete installs and GUI in Vietnamese, e.g. by using Debian (and GNOME and OpenOffice.org). After all the work we’ve done, I tear my hair each time I hear about Vietnamese people still trying to struggle on by memorizing English words. “You can run your computer completely in Vietnamese, for free.” Please spread the word. 🙂

    Clytie Siddall
    Vietnamese Free-Software Translation Team

    • verhovzeva Says:

      Clytie, I just did it – switched to Vietnamese keyboard via Terminal command. Thanks! Now one question – how do we type numbers in, since digits are used up?

  3. Clytie Siddall Says:

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that. You can access the number keys (and others used to supply Vietnamese letters or accents) by holding down the Control key (Option key on a Mac). Hold down Control-Shift (Option-Shift on a Mac) to access the upper-case characters on those keys.

    This becomes second-nature after a while. 🙂


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