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Graduate with Bad Grades or Repeat a Year? 277

An anonymous reader asks: "I'm a CS Student within one year of graduation. Due to financial reasons, I've been working on a full time basis for the past 2 years, and I've worked on an open source project. This has brought me from the B's and A's of my first two years of college to somewhere in the mists of C's and lower. I now have enough money to sustain myself for two years of schooling. I've got two choices: repeat one year, repair all my bad grades and graduate with better grades but with a mark that I repeated one school year; or graduate with lower grades but with no repeated year. I'd like to know the opinion of recruiters out there: if you had two candidates which ranked similarly during the interviews, would you choose someone who repeated classes for higher grades?"

What Can 4-yr-olds Understand About Science? 192

dr.karl.b asks: "My 3 and a half year old son is in Kindergarten. Here in Germany that includes 3 to 6 year olds. He is supposed to explain what his parents' occupations are. I am a scientist, and despite all the advice I have received saying he can't understand what I do, I am determined to try. I study self-motion perception, from basic-science vestibular processing to the role of real-motion cues in flight simulation. We have several cool labs in my institute, like robot-arm motion simulators and full-immersion virtual reality set-ups. We can easily compete with amusement parks for wow-factor, but I have 2 questions: How can I explain my work to my son? How can I invite his class (3-6 yr olds) to our institute to have them learn AND have fun, rather than ONLY have fun?"

Why Are Students Liable for School Insecurity? 480

yamamushi asks: "Within the past few weeks, students across Boerne ISD were being called into offices to discuss the use of proxies to circumvent the schools websense system. The problem is that some of these students are being suspended from school for up to 3 months at a time. Shouldn't the school district be liable for their own insecurity? Why are they punishing so many students for something that should be handled from the district's end? I know at the time I was going to school there, I was punished for using a Linux LiveCD to login to their computers without using a password, even after I told the admins how to disable booting from CD-ROMs. They refused to update any of the computers and as such I was using the same tactic till the day I graduated." While security breaches by students are something to take seriously, should school administrations continue with their knee-jerk mentality to something like this, especially at the times when its obvious that no malicious intent was involved?

Creating a Full-Time Sysadmin Position at a School? 67

Old_Mountain_Man asks: "I have been working at a K-8 school for the last two school years, as a volunteer through an Americorps program called the Montana Technology Corps. In theory, I am here to teach teachers and students how to use technology, but because of the need and my ability to do so, I have become an unofficial Systems Administrator. We also have a contracted Systems Admin that comes in once a week, and works 30 hours or so a month. After this year, the Tech Corps position will no longer be available to the school, so something needs to be done to keep the IT systems of the school functioning. I am going to propose to the school board that they create an official, full time systems administrator position, and to hire me for that job. Are there others out there that got their jobs similarly? How do you convince a board that they need to start budgeting for this? They have obviously taken the plunge to getting this technology in the school, so how do I convince them that they need somebody here to maintain it?"

Should Schools Block Sites Like Wikipedia? 545

Londovir asks: "Recently, our school board made the decision to block Wikipedia from our school district's WAN system. This was a complete block — there aren't even provisions in place for teachers or administrators to input a password to bypass the restriction. The reason given was that Wikipedia (being user created and edited) did not represent a credible or reliable source of information for schools. Should we block sites such as Wikipedia because students may be exposed to misinformation, or should we encourage sites such as Wikipedia as an outlet for students to investigate and determine the validity of the information?"

Future Game Coders - Online Education or College? 143

An anonymous reader asks: "My cousin is about to graduate high school and wants to enter the game industry. I told him to get a day job (possibly as QA in a game studio) and get an online degree like DeVry's Game and Simulation Programming degree or The Art Institute of Pittsburgh's Game Art & Design degree. I have a BS and an MS in Computer Science, and I've only found what I learned mildly useful for my game programming hobby. Should he suck it up and get a 4-year degree, or is taking online courses focused on game development the way to go? Has anybody gotten one of these degrees and done well for themselves?"

Language Learner Looks for Leads in Learning? 42

zanzibar asks: "I learned C in a college course, I learned C++ and Java from books, and I learned Rails from blogs. I'm not convinced one of these methods was more effective than the others. I want to know what other readers think about technical education. What do they want to learn and how do they want it delivered? What do they like about their options today (from college coursework to Wikiversity)? What's missing? What just doesn't work?"

Which IT Careers Are Hot and Which are Not? 284

necromante asks: "I've been working on different IT positions through my career: support; some networking; DBA; web development; project management; even working on the client side for a little while. However, I don't feel like I am really a specialist on any of those subjects and I feel I need to focus on a particular field. So, I decided to ask for some feedback before making my decision. I understand that this depends everyones tastes, likes and dislikes. However, I would like to have a better idea of which are the available options, and I hope the results of this discussion can benefit other readers. Is there any IT career that I should consider more than the others? Which are the emerging fields? Is there any industry I should focus on in particular? Which careers on IT are actually more in demand and which ones not? Is it a better path to focus on moving into management?"

Online Higher Education in Second Life? 67

XxtraLarGe asks: "As both a technician for my college's Distance Learning program and as an avid gamer, I have been tasked with investigating Second Life as a possible way for us to extend and enhance our online classes. I've done a lot of research, reading about what other schools have done. While I personally think it is a really cool idea, I am somewhat skeptical of the actual practicality and value of what seems to be a glorified chat room. I'd like to hear from others about their education experience in Second Life, particularly if you've been involved in setting up any online classes or taken any online classes. What sort of training would be required for the faculty, and is it really worth it?"

University Migrating Students to Windows Live Mail? 450

An anonymous reader wonders: "My University has begun a migration of student email services to Windows Live Mail. All students will be forced onto the system by the end of the semester, but it doesn't support POP or IMAP. Because of that limitation, the only freely available mail client it supports is Windows Live Desktop, which is only available on Windows and I'm worried its ads might be vulnerable to malware just like the ones in Live Messenger. I depend on my mail client and I am concerned about this, because we're not allowed to forward our mail but are responsible for information received there from the University and classes, I'm not on a Windows machine, and I don't have the time to regularly check for web-mail, during the day." What are the pros and cons of such a move for a mid-sized or large college? If you were in charge of the communications of a such a university, would you outsource [please note the vendor neutrality, here] your e-mail?

500-in-1 Electronics Kits? 125

Oneamp asks: "I'm interested in a '500-in-one' type electronics kit. Amazon lists a few, but I've seen some user reviews that maybe they are not all they're cracked up to be. Most of the complaints seem to be of the 'Manual sucks' variety. Nevertheless, I'm sold on the idea. Can any of you, who have had actual experience with any of these kits, recommend a good one?"

Getting in to a Top Tier College? 177

IvyLeague Engineer asks: "I'm currently a senior at a top rated public school and I look forward to majoring in Electrical Engineering. I've already been accepted into Carnegie Mellon University, so I don't need to worry about any 'safety' schools. However, I still have my sights set on getting into a school such as MIT or Cal Tech. My grades are high (95.6 on a 100 scale), I have several leadership positions in clubs, however I'm pretty sure that's not enough. What else can I do to improve my chances of being accepted there? I've already been deferred from early action at both institutions and I'm afraid it's too late to do much at this point. I'm sure there are other people like me wondering just what it takes to get admitted to a prestigious college."

One Desktop per Child - miniPCs for Schools? 72

gwjenkins asks: "I'm a teacher in charge of IT in a small school. We would like to bust out of the computer lab model but don't want a trolley of laptops wheeled from class to class. I've drooled over wi-fi PDAs but just can't afford a set for class (and the batteries drain too fast). In a classroom, space is at a premium and teachers won't use a technology that takes too long to set up. Most of the time the kids are just researching (Google), or typing (Google Docs), the rest of the time they can go to a lab. I would love to have a desk-based solution. Can you run a wi-fi mini-pc (sitting under the desk) from a 12-volt rechargeable battery (also sitting under the desk) with a 7" LCD (sitting on the desk), that boots from flash card into FireFox? No wires! No setup time! Has anyone done this? How? Alternatively can anyone say why this is silly?"

Using Technology to Improve Kindergarten? 132

andres32a asks: "I currently run a private preschool located in Latin America. I have been always interested in finding new ways of giving kids a legitimate educational advantage through fresh applications of technology. What technology would you like to have seen applied in your kindergarten?"

What Micro-Controller Would You Use to Teach With? 175

Rukie asks: "I'm looking into starting some sort of robotics class for my high school, which severely lacks any sort of technological classes. I am now wondering what micro-controllers are best for an educational environment. I definitely want something more advanced than the Legos, but something that won't fly over people's heads. Are there cheap, scaleable micro-controllers for learning in a classroom or at home? I'm curious how my fellow readers have hacked up toys to make their own robotics at minimal cost."

The hardest part of climbing the ladder of success is getting through the crowd at the bottom.