Time to Upgrade the Computer Lab


This is the first year I’ve had kindergarten students coming to the computer lab who are touching the monitor, trying to follow my directions.  We don’t have touch-screen monitors in the lab, so I’m assuming that they are bringing this behavior from their experience with the technology they have at home.

Modifications I’d like to see to the concepts shown above:

  • Computer lab tables would have a hollow, single center-pedestal leg to house electrical/network wiring and allow free movement around the table without tripping on wires and corner legs.
  • Screen surface skin customizable to create different tactile conditions, such as paper, so user can experience the friction of a pen or pencil on the surface when using a stylus.
  • Screen surface skin able to produce an elevated keyboard with clear differentiation between the keys, and keyboards of different sizes to match the size of the user’s hands. This last feature would be especially appreciated by my kindergarten students.
  • Screen can be split into sections, and the sections can be rotated.
  • Configurable key labels, whether upper/lowercase, or language.  My kindergarten students are initially confused by seeing all uppercase letters, then lowercase letters on the login screen as they enter their username.
  • Connection between adjacent desktops, so a document on one can be cloned and swooshed over to the next, with the option of sharing the file with anybody/everybody in the lab
  • Instructor’s workstation would be able to see the entire lab at once as well as zooming into any combination of the individual desktops.
  • Instructor’s workstation can display on all workstations at once
  • Workstations can run multiple operating systems simultaneously.
Computer lab table: tactile surface, divisible.
Computer lab table: tactile surface, divisible. Click for larger image.

Compass Constructions

Here are a few starter demonstrations from Wikipedia. For a more extensive collection of construction demonstrations, go to the Math Open Reference’s Constructions page. Another resource with clear examples is the Geometric Constructions page on the Math is Fun web site.


Regular Hexagon Inscribed in a Circle
Regular Hexagon Inscribed in a Circle 240px” by AldoaldozOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Straight Square Inscribed in a Circle
Straight Square Inscribed in a Circle 240px” by AldoaldozOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Pentagon construction
Pentagon construct” by TokyoJunkie at the English Wikipedia – en:Image:Pentagon_construct.gif
This image was created with GeoGebra
.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Trisecting a segment
Trisectsegment” by en:User:Goldencakohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trisectsegment.gif. Licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Works in Progress

When I first learned how to make web sites back in the early 90’s, I used Netscape Composer, Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe Dreamweaver, and BBEdit. Some of the sites used frames, but most were single collections of HTML pages with a few JavaScript features thrown in.

The most successful of all the projects still being maintained is the public version of the Copper River | Chitina Dipnet Fishery Escapement Charts site. It was first published in 2003 as a single page, one stop site for everything relative to planning a successful dipnet harvest of Copper River salmon. Its subscription version is made with Drupal, and has vastly more information and features than the original site.

I used to have all of my sites and pages hosted by a local dial-up provider. I maintained the account for years after switching to a DSL account with a different provider just because I didn’t want to have to change all of my links.

Eventually, I let the dial-up account expire, since I was no longer maintaining the old sites. Now that I’m using a different web hosting provider and a DSL internet service provider, I’ve been learning much about the benefits of different site-building tools.

The goal now is to modify my old education-related sites so they can be accessed through this current platform.  Some of the pages are so outdated that they’re not worth republishing. In those cases, I’ll need to remove the links to them.

Other sites are definitely worth keeping, so I’ll have to decide if I want them to work as stand-alones or incorporate them into more modern website environments.

SchoolTown Classroom Environment

Information | Automation | Innovation | Instruction