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Re: [school-discuss] Project suggestions for 10-12 y.o. kids?

Hello Karsten,

See inline comments.

On Tue, 9 Mar 2004, Karsten M. Self wrote:

> As someone who's worked largely in tech for the past decade (though some
> say I _was_ a kid once myself), I'm now faced with the prospect of
> creating an activity for a computer lab (~10 systems) for an equal
> number of 10-12 y.o. kids.

Sounds like great fun!

> The goal is educational.  The setting is an after-school program (not
> a school program itself).  Initially, the systems are largely legacy MS
> Windows, though the plan is to change this over time.  There are some
> prepared materials for this sort of thing I'll have a chance to look
> over tomorrow, though I haven't yet seen them.
Take one of these machines (or one from home or office) and get the ltsp
cds (k12ltsp.org or ltsp.org) and create an ltsp server.  Then use this
server to boot all (or some portion) into linux so that you can easily
demonstrate all the wonderful OSS software without affecting the poor
legacy MS Windows.

> What I'd like to focus on rather than specific technologies is the sort
> of things other people do in a similar setting.  I haven't worked with
> kids of this age since lifeguarding years back, absent a few spells with
> neighbors kids and such (mostly roughhousing and horsing around).

I haven't done it with this large a group.  However I've had success in
smaller groups in the past with games such as gbatnav ("Batallia Naval"
which is basically a multi player battle ship), frozenbubbles,
codebreaker, xsokoban (and variants), xmahjongg (and variants), xboard,
pente, tuxracer (if you have the 3d hardware),
potatoguy (it has a french name I think), mirrormagic, loderunner, and [somebody
remind us what the other game is besides mirrormagic...] {several of these have a component that allows for
creativity in that the kids by the use of the level editors for the last
three and placement of their ships in the first, which they can keep for
themselves or share as they see fit}, communications apps such
as Multi-user chat using ytalk (can be a bit quirky, sometimes security
settings get in the way), of course web surfing with [kconqueror, mozilla,
galeon], graphics editing such as gimp, xpaint, and graphics eyecandy such
as the bazillion screensavers [xmatrix is a favorite], math
equation graphing with geg, spreadsheet stuff with gnumeric,  science apps
such as Celestia if the machine can handle it, if you are so inclined
search out the files for molecular chemistry that one of the screensavers
can use and show off different models of molecules, of course document
editing with LyX, AbiWord, and OpenOffice.  I've yet to do anything with
Scribus, so I don't know how well it might work in this situation.  If you
do decide to mess around with the Gutenberg Project, you may consider
showing the students how to take a gutenberg text into LyX and make it
into a print ready book in a short amount of time (of course it's even
faster if you learn vim and use the more powerful search and replace

One of the best things to do is to give each a separate log in and have
them just PLAY in the various desktops, exploring the various options
available to them.

There's alot more that I can think of, however I'll shut it off here as
it's been too long since I demo'd stuff (and my main system is not up
anywhere at the moment [harddrive's in my backpack]).  I hope that what
I've said above makes sense and if not, please ask and I'll try to make
it clearer.  I assume as an after school program that you are "allowed"
to use "games"...

> Any tips greatly appreciated. >

Your welcome

> Peace.
Something I pray for everyday.....

Jeff Waddell