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Journal Journal: I'm teaching 2 new High School classes - Java & 3d graphics

Well, I'm finally getting to teach some good classes. (Still doing the MS office tour with the middle school crowd.) Getting to teach electives is even more exciting then getting moderator points.

I'm got 2 electives for each semester this year. I Just wrapped up "Digital Media", where the kids did audio and video production and "Hardwqare and Operating Systems" Where I got a pile of donated Pentuim 2 machines and had the kids refurbish them and install Win98 (MS permits this for this sort of class - stumbled upon this fact on their site) and Mandrake 9.1. Most kids wiped Mandrake and went for the comfort of 98. The true geeks went dual-boot. Each kid got to take home a refurb'd machine - nice motivator. Didn't teach quite as much "stuff" as intended, but i think I got some understanding and willingness to tinker and a lot of confidence in understanding what's inside the machine. The kids liked the class. Ran into plenty of problems I couldn't solve, which was fine as long as I didn't try to portray myself as an all-knowing computer god. The "Digital Media" class went OK, but the kids struggled with tools and creative ideas. Got some good stuff, but it really became a hang out class.

Now I'm one day into second semester. I thought I was teaching Java today - turns out it was 3-d graphics. Kids installed and started building castles in Blender in short order. I was really impressed. It could be tough to keep up. I have to learn the texture-mapping tools by Wednesday! (Yes teachers often do stay just one step ahead of the kids, but I'm OK with that. I teach what I want to learn and hope the kids dig it...)

Speaking of Java, I've done a bit of coding here and there, like my little puzzle game server, but not too much. Thought I'd be writing code professionally, but mostly did it for the fun of it. (Hopped out of the IT industry as I was starting to burn out.) Spent some time today making sure I knew how to get Java tools going on the schools MS computers - thought about running it all of my underpowered Linux file server, but then thought better of it. (That server has its purposes - making me an official (TM) Linux SysAdmin, keeping skills fresh and running SAMBA for hundreds of users. I love SAMBA - except for the part about adding accounts.) Oh, Java, yep. Starts tomorrow. Small class. We'll install the JDK and do a HelloWorld, learn variables and some control flow. Gonna keep it focused on creating games. Number guessing, tic-tac-toe, Othello-style puzzles and a Robotron-type game. I'll stay away from the minutia of programming concepts, which strangely is where most "tutorials" begin.

Wish me luck and post any suggestions you desire.


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