Computer Literacy Program – Class 4 – Software
|Ryan will do more thorough posts about the curriculum, the activities, and the effectiveness of the program when all the classes are complete on ideonexus.com. These are just my own personal recaps and memories.|
The fourth class for the Computer Literacy Program was on the output of Class 3’s topic. Programming begets Software! To start, Ryan discussed operating systems. He covered the key functions of operating systems and then discussed the variety of the OSes that are out there, making sure to emphasize there are more options than just Windows and MacOS.
Before we purchased the 13 laptops for this program, the kids all had to share from a pool of extra laptops we had around the house. One of those laptops runs Ubuntu. So through their nightly visits to MySpace the past year, the kids already had been exposed to Windows and Linux systems. For class we wanted them to experience a new operating system. The easiest* way to do that was to have them all drop to DOS prompt and run some commands.
*If any of you Apple enthusiasts out there are disappointed, you can always donate your old laptops to us! 🙂
Everyone was able to follow along with the DOS prompt activity, but I’m not sure how well absorbed it was. It may have been a little like Cargo Cult Programming. The kids were running through their cd and dir commands, but I didn’t see anyone light up and visibly recognize that they were looking at the same files they were looking at in Windows. Ryan and I discussed it and we already have a slide idea for the future to help solidify the connection.
More effective was Ryan’s discussion on how software power increases with hardware power. He got help from Mario (of Nintendo fame). Over his 14 year career, Mario has appeared in over 200 video games…and was a great illustration of the changing technologies.
Near the end of class, Ryan discussed software applications and licensing schemes. Then it was time for another hands on activity! They kids got to install a program, specifically GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program. We walked through the install process together. Next up, lab time! The kids were tasked with learning and using their new program.
GIMP was a home run! All the kids had great fun modifying images and sharing their work with the others. A lot of laughter was had.
When class was officially over and everyone was free to peruse the internet, a number of the kids continued to work on their images.
The Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Smith debate served us well during the Programming Class. The debate lived on as the Larry Fitzgerald fan made some choice modifications to a picture of Steve Smith.
All in all, another great class!