TamTamMini, TamTamJam, SynthLab and OLPC at Audubon Middle School

I went in to my first day volunteering at the Famli after school program at Audubon Middle School knowing very little about OLPC, so I asked the kids to show me their  favorite programs.  TamTamMini and TamTamJam were two of the programs they showed me and it was pretty impressive how much they already new about the programs.  I was a little frustrated because on the OLPC there are no help pages incorporated with the applications (there is documentation online, but I was looking for the familiar help on the menu bar).  But soon after I was pressing random buttons and clicking things and figuring things out like a kid. I also played around with the synth lab b/c the icon (sine wave) caught my dsp (digital signal processing) attention.  This application I understood better b/c I’m familiar with dsp and I worked on the clam project which uses a similar network metaphor for the signal processing components.

For all the benefits of the hands-on approach, the programs have complexities that really require some explanation.  Caryl, to the rescue, provided me with some useful links that I will post here for future reference.

The following link is a video that introduces TamTamMini.  The main non-intuitive thing was which keys on the xo map to which piano keys.  Also I noticed that the version on the video seems to be different because on my xo there’s no sound patches from synthlab :

The following link is a wiki page that gives an overview of this family of programs (TamTamMini, TamTamJam, TamTamEdit and SynthLab):

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/TamTam

The following link has kids giving a recital using TamTamMini:

The following has an orchestra of xo’s… Hey where’s my lab coat?

Well, I think it will be fun playing with these programs with the kids.  Some of them already play instruments and music is a part of Torre’s curriculum.  I think that once I figure out SynthLab, I’ll be able to explain some acoustics and phonetics to the kids.

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One thought on “TamTamMini, TamTamJam, SynthLab and OLPC at Audubon Middle School

  1. When the kids and I were using TamTamMini last week, one of the kids blew out his headphones. I’m not sure if it was the TamTamMini software or the XO hardware, but it’s a risk that one should be alert for. If I find anything out about this, I’ll post back to this blog.

    Besides the blown headphones, the TamTamMini activites (ordinary activity–not the olpc “activity”) were successful. At first kids were okay sharing the computers, but later some kids left to play outside and the kids that were left had individual XOs. The guitar playing kids were asking about which fret is which key/note, so that was funny (I’m a guitar player too), and they brought out their guitars to “compare notes”.

    Before starting the TamTamMini activity, we had an “introduce yourself” session and used that to talk about our experiences with computers (most kids couldn’t remember their first use of a computer…kids these days!). I found it funny to learn that the only kids who had heard about Linux heard about it through Dave Chappelle ( http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=189931&title=popcopy , note: contains some profanity)

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