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I love technology and education. Maybe you like knitting. Cool. My thing is educational technology.

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Getting Geeks Going

Monday, March 26, 2012

One of my favorite things about education technology is finding young geeks, and getting them started on a good road forward. I think my most professionally rewarding experiences have been helping kids with a nascent interest in computers or IT get their feet off the ground.

It's pretty easy to find the geeks, they hang out a lot in the computer lab or the networking center. The first thing I do is look for the kids who only want to game. I ask them questions that help me see if they are curious to learn more about computers and IT. If they don't seem interested, I let them be. But if they do seem interested, I try to see what area of computers and IT I can steer them into. This list of questions is a good start. If a kid lights up about one thing, we push into that area of IT. Fun stuff. Perhaps this will help someone else get their geeks going at their school.

1. You have three computers at home, and you want to share files between the computers. All the computers can go online, and you can ping the computers IP address, but you can't seems to share files between them. You don't want to use dropbox, because you know an internal network is much (much) faster than dropbox. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a fix?

2. You are playing a multiplayer game and you notice latency. Interestingly, though, the latency seems random. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a fix?

3. You visit moodle for your classwork, google calendar for your events and appointments, and maybe gmail for some groupwork. you also spend some time looking at blogs and wiki's from your teachers class. You are tired of doing this, and you have decided to program a portal page that would slurp information from all these different sites into one page. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a program?

4. You want to write an application that would work on a iPhone or iPad. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a program?

5. You are pretty sure someone is hacking through your computer. You don't know why, but you think they are. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a fix?

6. You want to write a graphically-rich, hella-fun game. What steps do you take to implement the grand design of your game?

7. There is a cute girl in your science class, and you want to impress her by writing a highly complex formula in Excel. You have no idea if this will work, but hey, why not try?! You have an idea to write a formula that will instantly convert a currency amount into another currency using live exchange rates. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a fix?

8. You want to build a device that has an infrared sensor fixated on your door. When the door is opened, three things happen: 1. a light chime goes off, 2. your computer automatically goes to a random educational site, 3. a picture is taken of the person entering your room and emailed to your email account. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a fix?

9. You want to add a better graphics card and more RAM to your home computer. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a fix?

10. You want to setup an website. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a fix?

11. You want to setup a comlex website with membership modules, forums, file mangers, and stuff like that. What steps do you take to understand the problem and implement a fix?




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Bill MacKenty, Chief Zuccini

I make a difference in the life of kids. You want to tell me what's more rewarding?

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