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0x023 summary

Files changed or refered to:


1) Addition of receiving data types for all of the questions (refers
   to the sdoc discussion page) [Luka]
2) Moved SMP from Hardware section to Interface section [Arma]
3) Changed part about being able to use GUI or CLI in Interface section
4) Added 'Having the operating system already installed and configured
   when purchased' to Interface section [Charles]
5) Didn't change hardware section, as discussion about USB/FireWire is
   still ongoing. [Arma / Bob / Pete]
6) Moved software type listings to alternative page
7) Some general tidying up
8) Added 'Availability of a wide variety of software,' and
   'Availability of educational software' to the Operating System
9) Moved educational stuff to alternative page; needs more work.
     I'll probably (rightfully) get skewered for having done this; don't
get me wrong, I really think this is an important subject. BUT:

     a) We're going after mainstream users. Educational software by
        definition isn't mainstream. Yet. We could help that, though.
     b) Where wp's, ss's, db's and such serve a general purpose which
        can be tailored by their primary users who normally have
        advanced technical skills, teachers in general do not have
        these skills nor have the opportunity to get the skills to
        build the software. As an advanced user, and post-secondary
        computer instructor for four years I've seen many people in
        the teaching profession try to get a grasp on how this
        technology could be used to their benefit, and seen a lot of
        scared and disappointed teachers as a result.
             Granted - the use of computers in most classes is still
        at the introductory phase. What I think would be really useful
        is some sort of toolset or wizard to help develop teaching
        tools. Some 4GL-like metatool that a non-programmer teacher can
        use to create the opportunity to reinforce classroom
        instruction for every student while still remaining challenging
        for the students who catch on more rapidly.

Some questions that came to mind while thinking about educational
software were:

What does it do?
How can I use it to help teach my subject area?
Does it use multimedia, and does it do so appropriately (appropriate
     images and sounds for the subject at hand)?
What age group could it be used it with?
What does it reinforce, what does it help teach?
Does it produce a report on the student's progress though the task for
     later analysis?
Is there a program I can use for a particular teaching area?
Is there a program I can use to help organize my grading / student eval?
Is it readily customisable by a non-programmer?

    It seems that there would be the opportunity for a whole open-source
effort to develop these and other educational tools. Just a thought. 
Most importantly, though, even though I removed the existing questions
from the survey, I really would like to put good educational software
questions on the survey. My concern is that we may not do the subject
any favours if we don't put good questions on the survey. Reactions,
ideas, suggestions? I would really like to pursue this ...



Pete St. Onge - McGill U.  Limnology - Fun with Ropes & Buckets
pete@seul.org                  http://wwp.mirabilis.com/4322052