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Teachers to Grade Parents

Elementary school teachers to grade parents on the "quality" of their school involvement - their response to requests for school meetings or communication, their children's completion of homework and preparation for tests, their children's absentee and tardy rates and their children's "physical preparation for school," including a good night's sleep and appropriate meals. This will result in the parent rating's — satisfactory, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory as proposed in Florida lawmaker Kelli Stargel's education bill.

What an innovative thinking from Florida (the idea of grading, not the legal part). Parent participation is a large component of the children's education. For too long it is left up to whatever the parent are incline to provide, with little feedback or accountability. This is a great idea for the parents to get in the grading game along with their child. They should really use this feedback to drive their own growth and improvement!

Incidentally when I was touring the Glen Park Elementary school yesterday, the principal proudly show off their parent's star board, which is a form of parent grading system. Each count of parent activity earn them a star sticker, shown on the board in front of the classroom (aggregated to the class, not to individual parent). The class got a reward when the parents have earned enough stars. The students are reportedly quite excited about this star system.

2011.01.26 [] - comments

 

A hole in the wall helps educate India

Coming from a culture where we associate news with accidents, violent crimes and disasters, I have came out and start to question our perverse obsession on negative news. Not all news agencies are created equal though. The Christian Science Monitor, for example, put a lot of focuses on education. Here is one good piece of story about an experiment in India where they put free computer stand in slums and found kids made good use of them. Surprising they found that with no supervision or instruction

the children "download and play audio and video, send and receive e-mail, chat, and so on," he says. They quickly move on to learn some English from English-language websites, read Indian newspapers, and even "look for jobs for their fathers,"

And it does not end there.

Many have changed their goals from say, rickshaw driver to engineer, and most now want to go to college.

Seeing this kind of heart warming notes really light up my day.

Thinking more about this, it is not all that surprising that kids can teach themselves about computer without any instructions. Afterall I learned much about computer and programming by myself before even set foot in the college, and all these without really spending much in gadgetry.

2006.06.01 [, ] - comments

 

How I Got Into Computers

Nathan Torkington invite people to recount how they became hackers as an inpiration for new generations. I have taken this chance to write my own. It is reposted below.

How did I get into computer programming? I pride myself being a teen computer science theorist. Long before I've touched a real computer, I have already learned a whole lot of Basic programming by reading computer magazines in public library. My first program is really on a Casio programmable calculator. It has a macro function, a random number generator and a conditional branching command. With those I have build a Blackjack game. Later my friend got a Casio pocket computer PB-100. He generously lent me this new toy several days at a time. PB-100 has a great feature that it supports the spade, diamond, heart and club characters. So I got to build a number of card games using Basic.

Then my friend invited me to his home to use his Apple II. By then I have already learned everything about 6502 machine code. I decided my first program should be an assembler. I coded all the machine code on paper and brought it to my friend's home for a trial. After an entire afternoon of debugging it went no where. This became my first abandoned project. Eventually my parents gave in and bought me an Apple II. I have to confess that most of these came from the thriving pirate computer industry at that time. I got to read the pirated Apple reference manual translated into Chinese. It includes the source code of Woz' Basic ROM. That piece of software was really an enlightenment for me.

In time I moved up to Turbo Pascal, 300 baud modem and so on. I was steps ahead of other when I started CS in college.

2005.11.21 [, ] - comments

 

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