[Edu-sig] Now I went and did it!

Jason Cunliffe jasonic@nomadicsltd.com
Wed, 4 Oct 2000 21:36:19 -0400

Hi Steve

Following on my earlier 12-step which was thinking more of teenagers. After
reading your answer to my first questions and others sensible replies here
is my 2nd version:

A fun 3 step menu for 5-10 years, their parents and teachers:

#1Don't worry about Python. It won't matter to anyone unless there is a math
teacher or some parents who _are_ into programming themselves.

#2The real issue is that there is a rich open options of operating systems
and the many software tools to use and create on it. It does not really
matter what the tools you show are, so much as you can rapidly jump around
and show the diversity. Both serious and fun stuff.

It should not be a religious issue of the marilyn_monroe vs. godzilla.
If there is a religion it must be marilyn_monroe dates godzilla..

in other words focus on cool software which they can try out today on
windoze and
hey guess what all?.... this stuff works even better over here on Linux
[where it came from]

openSource = If you want to have your cake and eat, sooner or later you'll
have learn to bake it!!

All are FREE and extendible. Thus they represent a no-cost entry into an
extendible environment which will reward long-term human investment.

#6 It is the global trend
[see my juicy Korean Linux quote earlier]. All the same tools for Win or Mac
now exist for Linux [almost true in almost all categories. In many cases
Linux tools are better we know]

# 7 Know you audience..
Perhaps start by asking show of hands stuff how  many use computers daily,
for office, for multimedia, for web for programming..


This is your best bet. This stuff is fun and on openSource this can save a
lot of money too vs. The others.
Plus it offers a migration path up the school chain in all sorts of ways
towards increasing sophistication

1.1 GIMP - obvious but how can you go wrong with some great paint software

1.2 SLIDESHOW [no precise suggestion on this one - find the easiest to use]
Some kind of software which will allow you just walk nicely through a bunch
of text and graphics with no hideous windows GUI stupid crap in the way -
just full screen images and black backgrounds. Load it up with some nice
graphics and perhaps some supporting text of your own, including at least
one image you are going to fool around with in the GIMP.

1.3 KEYKIT- Fabulous MIDI programming environment. Free. Genius.

You can open up keyKit, set up a few KeyKit screens with some of the tools
and let it play using some built in MIDI synth from soundcard or even better
hook up a small synth if you can get one.
KeyKit has a couple of great tools to get everyone's instant attention. The
advantage is at least one child [of any age will want to play with it] For
example I suggest:

a) the mouse matrix tool.
Scoot your mouse around the XY grid and play delirious tumlbing playful
riffs on it. irresistible free thinking.

b) boom box tool
let you set up bass and drum rhythms. But using the brilliant KeyKit 'snarf'
function you can cutnpaste whole riffs of other notes and use those in the
boom box.

c)  sequencer tool
Play some Bach as midi. open up some custom parameter sliders so you can
change tempo, sound patch on the fly. Play with those for couple of minutes.
Then select a small section of the Bach and just play that. Show them how
you can break it down to simple manageable small kid sized things.
Then load in  some popular well known midi file which the kids will know -
some theme tune of whatever and play that so they get a response. Then
wiggle the sliders to make it strange again. very fast or very slow.. This
is an entire self-contained programmable environment which allows custom
musical interfaces and compositions to be built. You can use this tool from
age 5 through 95. You can use it for straight ahead recordin gan playback of
elctronix keyboards for music theory, and singing all the way out to most
experimental OUT concepts and beautiful sounds structures

For an example of such amazing development see
GeoMaestro - an inspired and unique visual interface to music & programming
Good for a illustration on printed handout

lots more audio goodies on http://www.xdt.com/ar/linux-snd/


2.1 Show Kirby's great Python + POV pages.. Just so impressive those
patterns the depth of meaning of number. Instantly they speak but there is
much more which is hidden to be explored.
patterns patterns patterns
http://www.inetarena.com/~pdx4d/ocn/numeracy0.html etc

2.2 Geometer' Sketch Pad Interactive geometry type applications.

What I am thinking of is the things which let you directly play hands on
with lines and circles and develop a really intuitive feel for geometry.
Sort of like these:
[Sorry cant find any more precise references right now]


3.1 Some cool atlas tool if it exists suitable for young ones.
Unix is still very lacking in the low end for this I think.

No matter there is so much cool stuff on the web - John Walker's site alone
should be enough to keep any 5-10 year old if some kind teacher one would
guide them through it

3.2 http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/satellite.html
3.3 http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/uncgi/Earth/action?opt=-p
3.4 http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/uncgi/Earth/action?opt=-m&img=Moon.evif
3.5 http://www.fourmilab.ch/terranova/terranova.html
3.6 http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/
3.7 http://www.fourmilab.ch/solar/solar.html

hth+ enjoy!!

- Jason