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

on Mon, Mar 15, 2004 at 02:34:00AM -0600, Jeff Waddell (jwaddell@chi.spunge.org) wrote:
> 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 good news is that the initial session went well (I stuck with the
canned goods, particularly as I had neither admin nor net to do any
differently -- though I did show one kid what raw HTML looks like, both
raw and rendered).

> > 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.

;-)  vim 'ab' is your friend.  "Windows" has been legacy on anything I
write for ages....

I'd like to do something like this.  Probably worth a new thread (or
some research).  Briefly:

  - The LTSP concept is a beautiful one.  I'd like to set up a server
    and run multiple desktops off it.

  - I'm highly partial to and very familiar with Debian.  LTSP appears
    to be set up somewhat as its own distro.  Doing the equivalent bootp
    + xdmcp support from whithin Debian would be strongly preferred.

I know a few people very familiar with LTSP I need to follow up with.

> > 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,
Damn, that's addictive....

> codebreaker, xsokoban (and variants), xmahjongg (and variants),
> xboard, pente, tuxracer (if you have the 3d hardware), potatoguy (it

Any experience with any of these over remote X?  My limited experience
has been watching Flash animations deform oddly over either straight X11
or tunneled SSH connections....

Video seems to work best locally.

> 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.  

Right, pretty much, on all of that.  Most of these are tools I'm
familiar with.  Some of them intimately.  Some of them passionately.
Some of them pathelogically.....

One thought I've had is to simply get the class used to starting the day
with the Teacher Communications Protocol game...

   Teacher:  SYN
   Students: SYN ACK
   Teacher:  ACK
   Teacher:  ACK <lesson starts>

...which may come to mean something down the road....

Maybe make this the interrupt / request protocol as well.

> I've yet to do anything with Scribus, so I don't know how well it
> might work in this situation.  

I've started it up a few times.  It strikes me as rough, though I'm not
familiar with the proprietary equivalents (Quark?).  Knew someone years
back who used same.

> 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 capabilities)

Any specific tips here?  Seems a sed/awk/perl script would be the right

> 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.

Very much thinking of that.

Even before getting a terminal server up, just offering shell through
PuTTY on the 'Doze boxes would be a start.

> 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.....

As I say, it's worth fighting for ;-)


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   The golden rule of technical design:  complexity is the enemy.

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