[svlug] demonstration for kids

Peter Street peter.street at lazerfx.co.uk
Wed Dec 12 13:07:04 PST 2001

William Black <wjblack at yahoo.com> wrote:

Note: Various sections of this document have been edited for length -
only sections I am responding to are kept.

> I'm not saying that there won't be SOME kids who
> aren't interested in high technobabble, but it won't
> be enough to enrapture a whole class (typically).  I
> bore ADULTS with such discussions enough to realize
> that not all kids will want to travel the path, no
> matter how inquisitive.

Actually, from personal experience (Hey, I'm only 20 - it wasn't _THAT_
long ago) most kids want to know stuff like this they just don't see it
because of peer pressure.  If you show them cool stuff (blinking lights,
fancy graphics, taking apart an x-box) they will be interested.

> A general discussion on how computers work
> (input/output/processing) and how they surround us
> generally (embedded in street lights, etc.) might be
> both more useful and less fringy (is that a word?).

I think that would actually be rather boring to the typical kid - who
wants to sit in yet another lecture?  Let's _DO_ something.

> You and I might have been programming in (e.g.) BASIC
> on a Commodore 64 when we were 10, but remember that
> this is pretty atypical of American youth (that's why
> us techies get the big bux, right?).  Think like a
> South Park kid (OK, they are somewhat atypical too,
> but they're more typical than we were...).

BBC Basic & Speccy 128 Basic rock - C64's were always too expensive for
me :)

Personally, I think what you want to do is something that shows them
just how much _FUN_ computing and science is... rig up something that
explodes, and show 'em how to make it go bang with a computer control
program (Perhaps a firecracker, linked to a simple on/off switch,
controlled through the RS/232 port) - have most of the program
pre-written, just show how to write a brief countdown, and a signal send
bit... something like

(Pseudo code - probably badly written)
for intTimer = 10 to 1
	display at 1x1 - "Countdown: " & intTimer
	pause 1 second
next intTimer
RS232.signal = true

<Outside the computer>


> --bj

I don't know if this would get permission from the schools, but I know
that about 90% of the kids I knew and know would _LOVE_ this.

Peter Street
Web Developer / Manager
LazerFX Productions
www.lazerfx.co.uk (Under Construction)

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