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Re: [seul-edu] Looking for math curriculum

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> James,
>     I agree with each of your 7 points. However, I also believe that if we keep doing things the way we've been doing them, we'll keep getting the same results we've been getting. A computer is nothing more than a tool which should help us to approach the problem of motivating in a different way. Since the kids are raised on visual stimuli, using visual stimuli in the classroom is an avenue worth pursuing.

You make a very valid point.  I can definately see where computers can be 
usefull, even with the group with which you will be working.  The question
I have is what will stimulate these students, and also, what will drive them
in the direction of self-motivation?  <tangent>One thing that I know all kids
like in one form or another is music...now if you can cause a kid via 
multimedia ito interact musically with mathematics.  Being a musician, I know
that many things require repettition to learn and if you can distill some 
lessons into a song/jingle [that they like], and if you get them to sing
it they will learn it (how many High School drop outs know the complete
lyrics to entire albums?  Probably quite a few).</tangent>

>     Regarding pouring money into computer infrastructure, that's why I am pleased at the opportunity to show off what can be done for peanuts. My classroom network has become sort of a hobby and has probably cost me a few hundred dollars out of pocket. However, it hasn't cost the school a dime. I'm trying to set it up as a demonstraton project to show what can be done with Linux and surplus (free) hardware.
I worked three years as a Network Admin for a school system, and It
was an uphill battle getting people to see the money they can save via
Open Source, and the incredible benefits.  At least in NC Microsoft is
pouring money into the schools for training; much of the State level 
curriculum is based on Microsoft Word.  I did manage to get my boss
to see the utility of Linux at least for our IP infrastructure (including
web servers), but getting it in the classroom was another thing
all together.  The hardest part about bringing in Open Source solutions
to the classroom level though, was the relative complexity of UNIX
which was a problem on various fronts:

	1) Teachers were paid precious little, and thus if someone
	   did start really learning this stuff...well the industry
	   snarfed them up mighty quick.
	2) Teachers were given too many classes to teach with too many
	   students; This leaves their time to research stuff just
	   about gone.
	3) Those that began to get training generally went for certificates,
	   and guess what certificate programs are the easiest to begin with
	   and best marketed...Microsoft.
	4) Probably related to number one, but at the School System 
	   for which I worked, there was not a soul with any real 
	   programing (much less system admin) skills, and with any
	   real understanding of how the computers worked.  Thus they
	   could not see the incredible potential for teaching 
	   Computer Science type curriculum (or even on the way to 
	   Computer Science type curriculum).

So what you ended up with is an incredible ignorance about computers in 
general leaving Open Source stuff not even on the radar screen.  
Usually, I was able to use UNIX type solutions when someone decided
that the School System needed some functionality, and I could provide
that functionality for only the cost of a machine (and my time, but hey
what is that to a worker in the public [Net Admin in a school system 
does not translate to well paid (-; ]).