[Edu-sig] Reinventing the classroom...

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Nov 17 05:03:46 CET 2008

Hi Charlie, just Googling up your earlier suggestion to do more with
audio books, for commuters etc.

I agree there's a sense of "so now what" regarding some of those
computer labs, i.e. are these for uploading pictures of the
neighborhood, comparing with historic archival shots, for studying
local infrastructure (sewers, cable TV nets, electrical grids...), for
doing object orient math, for making and watching YouTubes...?

So many possibilities, so little time.

I think we need more think tanks looking into these questions.

I was impressed when in England to discover a London Knowledge Lab
already set up to explore precisely such questions, returned home
eager to start my Portland Knowledge Lab experiment, flattering by
imitating the way I saw it, actually renting an office on 8th & SE
Main, later trucked it elsewhere.

Part of PKL's purpose is to amass a collection of videos suitable for
math/computer lab use, something of a PR effort, got some cool stuff
out there e.g. Adrian's fine "breathing torus":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcMCou6CrK4 (C++ and POV-ray) -- still
growing the archive.

Anyway, just reminiscing, plus looking forward to more discussions
about computer lab design, best practices, etc., admitting up front
I'm getting limited impressions in my current walk of life, e.g. not
much interaction with high schoolers these days, though I might have
another lab session at Portland State in the spring, a traditional
Windows setup, everything preinstalled.

One thing I'll say is we should be having students practice more
working in pairs, solo coding on significant projects becoming
relatively rare thanks to management embracing some hard won lessons
from the field.

Pair programming does not have to mean sharing a computer however, we
can do it with various combinations of free tools (I've been doing
Skype some, like with a coder coven in LA, though mostly it's the
usual "over the shoulder" approach, one of us driving, though
sometimes we project the shared screen, sit around a table):



On Sun, Nov 16, 2008 at 6:20 PM, Charles Cossé <ccosse at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Kirby,
> On Sun, Nov 16, 2008 at 1:20 PM, kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com> wrote:
>> So once we agree we want some kind of computer lab, the question is, what kind?
> This sentence sounds similar to something I was just writing
> about...though reading on in your post it's not really talking about
> the same thing.  Nonetheless, I paste the paragraph for your possible
> enjoyment .... [delete at will]
> It is fairly obvious that computers can revolutionize education, but
> now that every school has them, how does one actually realize all the
> latent potential residing in all those computer labs? I don't believe
> the details were ever very clear, just the general agreement that
> computers _could_ improve education. There doesn't seem to be anything
> fundamental about computers which affects some corresponding
> fundamental aspect of education, for example, so it's not like it was
> a revolution that was going to happen automatically. Furthermore, each
> subject can only be "revolutionized" to an extent which depends on
> software availability.
> Keep on keepin' on ...
> Charlie Cosse

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