[svlug] using linux in schools

Rafael Skodlar raffi at linwin.com
Mon Mar 31 13:50:08 PST 2003

This topics comes up every once in a while on this and other mailing
lists. First, don't start with compiling kernel ;-)

On Mon, Mar 31, 2003 at 01:01:55PM -0500, George Georgalis wrote:
> I'm working on a project that has potential to provide children (k-12)
> with hardware and good network connection at one site and be the center
> of an organized nation wide network.
> The technology should give them internet access and help them with their
> studies. A very general statement. What I am looking for is ideas to
> make this more than internet browser and word processor kiosks. I'd like
> to come up with something that really engages the students, draws them
> to interact, be productive and collaborate with others in the program.

Very good. Since most kids (?) have entertaining devices at home we
don't need to emphasize that aspect of computing in school environment.
However, it's always good to have the setup done in a way that makes any
work including "computing" attractive with lot's of fun.

You need to provide different levels of computing experience for that
range of kids. That's not going to be easy. Young kids need to learn
basic computer interaction or communicating skills, while older ones can
do other things.

Kids are like adults with numerous interests which in many cases have
little to do with computers and related hardware. For that reason it's
important to emphasize that computers are just tools to do other great
things in art, control repetitive and dangerous tasks, communicate
across long distances, help disabled people, control traffic, etc. 

> There is no specific curriculum that must be provided so I was
> wondering what your ideas are to attract kids to the idea of network
> computing? Many people reading this might say give them a shell and
> Pascal educational modules (or some other language); but this will only
> attract a small percentage of the kids.
> I would provide all the basic types of programs, write, draw, paint,
> www, email; but I was wondering what types of resources or environment
> would draw kids in to design a db or develop their networking and
> communication skills?

It would be nice to include additional hardware like scanners to import
their art and change it with digital tools. Kids can make a report on
what other kids are doing in the project.

Additional projects might include some kind of digital IO box that would
control other electronic devices. The simplest one that comes to mind is
RS232 connected X-10 set of devices. With that you can control lights
(light show, traffic lights), water pumps, train set or other (robotic)
toys, etc. Have them modify the parameters to see the changes in the
control chain.

Interesting project could include a microscope mounted camera to capture
pictures of whatever samples kids want to analyze and share with other
kids around the world. One possibility is to capture pictures of
nocturnal animals or pets and then watch them the next day. You could
put a tiny camera in bird feeder, nests, etc ...

Not all of course is easily done with Linux due to stupidity in the
industry for not providing the drivers or info to create them, but it's
worth a try.

> // George
> -- 
> GEORGE GEORGALIS, System Admin/Architect    cell: 347-451-8229 
> Security Services, Web, Mail,            mailto:george at galis.org 
> Multimedia, DB, DNS and Metrics.       http://www.galis.org/george 

Have lots of fun.


More information about the svlug mailing list