The countdown to submitting Sugar Labs's application to be a 2009 Google Summer of Code (GSoC) organization has begun. (That was a long and overly complex sentence, but we shall press onwards!)
If you have a moment, please take a look, leave comments, and make any last-minute edits you might have to our current application, which is in response to the questions posted here. Many thanks to Walter Bender and Jameson Quinn for doing a great job on our org app (with a special thanks to Jameson for continuously sending reminders and scheduling meetings to keep us on top of things)!
We particularly need some work done on our ideas page, which will be the focus of the next 12 or so hours of my life (...after a few hours of sleep, that is).
This is the first summer we've been present as an organization to participate in GSoC, so we're lucky to have a number of experienced Sugar coders signed up as mentors and shadow-mentors, many of whom are veteran GSoC mentors or students. We've also gotten some invaluable coaching from former GSoC administrators at other open-source projects and former GSoC students who worked on Sugar when it was part of OLPC, leading to things like our requirement that applicants demonstrate that they have a working development environment and the practice of holding mandatory IRC check-in meetings once a week throughout the project.
My favorite part of our application, though, has got to be this:
We will launch a Sugar pilot near each accepted project so that students can see immediate results and feedback from children and teachers using their work, thus investing them further in longer-term sustainability and getting their local communities involved as well.
Awesome software is a tool. Communities where children are learning about learning is the goal. Showing students how their work on the first directly impacts and benefits the second is, I think, one of the most important outcomes we can have.