Tag Archives: computers

Minority Report-ify your computer with The Leap

Thanks to Al Doyle (@aldoyle), I just learned about The Leap (http://leapmotion.com).

Say goodbye to your mouse and keyboard.

Leap represents an entirely new way to interact with your computers. It’s more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard and more sensitive than a touchscreen.  For the first time, you can control a computer in three dimensions with your natural hand and finger movements.

This isn’t a game system that roughly maps your hand movements.  The Leap technology is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market — at any price point. Just about the size of a flash drive, the Leap can distinguish your individual fingers and track your movements down to a 1/100th of a millimeter.

This is like day one of the mouse.  Except, no one needs an instruction manual for their hands.

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Incomplete notes after visiting Quest To Learn today…

Quest To Learn (http://q2l.org) is a joint venture between the Department of Education, The Gates Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation Institute of Play.

150 kids, 1:1 laptops stored in 6 laptop carts (combination Macbook and netbooks). Mostly cloud based usage via servers and Google Apps. Machines are numbered, so more often than not, kids use the same computer.

The NYC Board of Ed requires filtering, so there are two networks in use; There are only two points of access to the unfiltered network though.

There are 5 curricular Domains at Q2L that integrate multiple disciplines:
The Way Things Work
Being, Space, and Place
Sports for the Mind

Quest To Learn Core Values:
1. All ideas are improvable
2. Diversity creates balance
3. Win and lose with grace
4. Respect all things
5. Collaboration matters
6. Get in the game: Play fair, play fully
7. Experiment and imagine possibilities
8. Nobody walks by
9. Be tenacious
10. Lead by example

Down the hallway is a working Game Design Studio staffed with 4.5 designers. They have an open door policy, so students can walk by, pop in, and see the process unfold. Those games are then used in the classrooms to solve quests or missions. All topics of study are treated as a mission or game.

Q2L is in its second year. Last year they were just 6th grade on East 23rd Street. This year is 6th and 7th grades on the 4th floor of an existing public school on West 18th Street. They share a cafeteria, a boys gym, and a girls gym with the older/bigger/tougher kids on te 6th floor of the building. The 7th floor is a vast, gorgeously lit space that will eventually be Q2L’s high school. Today, I saw a couple of kids playing soccer in one alcove, and as per every floor, there was a hall monitor present.

More information in the Village Voice article here: http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-04-06/news/game-theory/

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Social networking in music class and YouTube alternatives

The curriculum at The School is thoughtful, intentional, and super integrated. Currently, the 7th grade is engaged in a study of Benin and West Africa: they study population, diseases, and statistics in Math and Science, historical and political movements in Social Studies, they read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in English, play African group sports in Wellness, and they examine African Art and West African music.

David Gordon, music teacher extraordinaire, wanted his music students to extend their in-class discussion of West African Music outside of their physical classroom walls. I set up a group on our in-house Elgg social network for this interaction to occur. For the record, we named our social network The Social Network over four years ago. Take that, Columbia Pictures.

David’s first published blog post contains a list of alternatives to YouTube. I am constantly reinforcing the importance of searching for share-alike, legal, licensed music. We talked (or rather, I talked) about how important it is to be ethical and legal and honor people’s intentions when it comes to sharing their work.

Below are the sites I offered the kids for now (suggestions would be greatly appreciated):


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You down with #AUP (Yeah you know me)

Two weeks into the shool, and I’m still missing one signed Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) from the middle school population. Maybe I should be more “glass is half full” about it and acknowledge I’m only missing one signed AUP. The kids are not allowed to use their school MacBook without turning in that form. I use the non-AUP kids to control the classroom iMac and Smartboard when I lead a lesson for their class. I always ask for volunteers (or guinea pigs as I like to call them) to demo for their classmates, anyway, which leaves me free to walk around as needed asking questions and checking that the other students are on task.

I pasted the AUP we use for grades 5-8 here at The School below:

The School’s Acceptable Use Policy
The School’s students will use its technology facilities in the spirit of The School’s code of conduct and in a responsible and legal manner, following the rules listed below:

• I will always use the computer with consideration and respect for others and myself.
• I will not eat food or drink beverages while working on the computers.
• I will be responsible for my computer’s whereabouts at all times. If I am not using my computer I will return it to a charging station

E-mail and Communication
• I will use electronic mail only for school-related purposes. I will never use abusive or profane language in public or private messages.
• I will not access my personal e-mail account, social networking sites, or personal instant messaging software from any school computer.
• I will not use others’ names or passwords.

• I will ask a teacher for permission before I download or install anything from the Internet.
• I will keep my network and electronic mail account passwords private.

• I will use teacher-approved software when given permission at appropriate times.
• I will not illegally copy or download software or media (games, MP3s, etc.)

• I will not shop online or make any purchases using a school computer.
• I will not visit inappropriate websites. Teachers and administrators will determine appropriateness.

I understand that failure to follow these rules when using The School’s technology, whether at The School or off-campus, will result in suspension of my technology privileges and/or additional disciplinary action.

________________________________Student Name (Print)
________________________________Student Signature
________________________________Guardian Signature
________________________________Advisor Name


Conveniently, I just saw this tweet from @ShellTerrell linking to a great post about Digital Citizenship:


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