It is a zoo and the animals are running loose.

It has been the usual zoo here.  The first weeks of school are always pretty interesting.  All the things I thought I had fixed over the summer die or do not work.  It is interesting how things will work just fine when I test them but as soon as a teacher or student tries to use it …gurrk.

One of the teachers cannot log in to the grading software.  I tried with my account and still no-go.  The stated error is an internet issue.  Her internet works.  I tested the speed.  She is getting one sixth of what she should be.  That might be the problem.  Then again it might not.  My project for this afternoon is to find the missing five sixths.  It appears to be missing in the whole elementary school building.  Bad switch?  Bad radio connection to my main building?  People claim the building is haunted so maybe it is an angry ghost.  Do not laugh.  It is on my list of things I have solutions for.  Remember this is a Catholic school.  I have access to holy water and it is not illegal to use it.

This is one of the many little issues in the last two weeks that budge into my daily nap time.

Today I had to install Adobe InDesign on a laptop.  I managed to buy a license from a vendor without a lot of complication.  Adobe can’t just email a key to install in a download.  Oh no.  You have to create an account with them, do the download and the key, which is in the account you created and which the vendor has to have access to, is then automatically applied.  Took me a while to figure that out.  (Hey, I never said I was smart, I am just persistent.)

The traffic light class is coming along.  We are building the initial program in Small Basic.  All the kids are familiar with SB so we can concentrate on the problem and not the language.  Once we have the problem broken down and working in SB we will switch to Python, the language of the course.  The traffic light is not as trivial as I initially thought it was going to be.  The timing is going to be the focus of the problem.  The red, yellow and green lights will all have different durations which is not a big issue but the crosswalk timer has to run separately from the light timer.  May have to have two timers running at once.  As I am concluding my usual brilliant lecture (doodles on the board of pictures of traffic lights and the time coordination) on this problem one of my students says quietly “I have the lights working.”  Smart kids are a pain.  Especially since I have not had time to work on the problem myself.

Somewhere in here I need to find time to look at the new Microsoft Creative Coding through Games and Apps.  An initial perusal has tweaked my interest.  The course might be something to use in the Programming I class instead of Scratch.  It uses TouchDevelop which I am just not real familiar with yet so I need to dedicate some time to playing with it.  I am not really into canned courses like this but they are extremely useful to get ideas from and as sort of a guide when trying something new with kids.  It is also kind of interesting to see what supposed CS teaching experts think is the way to go.  Sometimes those supposed experts are much better that I am, but sometimes it is evident they have never taught normal high school kids.

Well I am off to try to find out why the elementary school’s internet speed is dragging.  I will save the holy water approach when all the obvious solutions have failed.


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