Thursday, August 16, 2007

Getting the New Lab Ready

Wow. It's been a busy summer, but I got a lot done. First, I moved to California. Then I set about making a new Computer Lab and designing a new Computer Studio course which I hope will start to test some of the ideas I've been blogging.

The couse will move kids from a hardware overview (autopsy), to some basic media work, some HTML, and some blogging of their own. Once they have a handle on how to report on their work, we'll start on a few projects. As I've said, this course will approach computers with an artist's curiousity: what are they? how do they work? what can I make with them?

First we'll try podcasting and video work -- really an extension of the media work that they started with, but adding some XML and RSS to the mix. Then I want them to try making a non-linear experience within a web browser, maybe like a museum of science interactive that explains something. They'll incorporate audio and video media, as well as other programming skills.

Next I want them to try their hand with Google Earth, wikis, and media. We'll see if they might also be able to do something with Google SketchUp.

Then we'll dig into some "starter" IDE's like Scratch. And finish with Lego Mindstorms.

Also, all the tools I'm using are free, and almost all are cross-platform -- so the kids can download and use them at home:
- Audacity
- Firefox
- Google Earth
- Google SketchUp
- LEGO Digital Designer
- Scratch
- TextWrangler