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labdien lurkers

synopsis

anyone interested in playing picaxe perhaps over the holidays or even over a weekend early in term 4 2007, drop me a line. members of the wordstar users group will be meeting in the jim fuller room of our secret headquarters to play with these things. i do not claim to know much more than how to spell picaxe, and offer the usual vertical learning curve, familiar to those who like to tilt at windmills

picaxe

Picaxelet me wax on lyrically about the old daze, when men were men and monkeys ate cheese. back then, there was a subject taught in skools called komputering, done mainly by maths and science teachers with that sort of mind. it catered mainly for boys, and in those days dealt with peeks and pokes, code and sprites. and they were 8 bit komputeras. (whaaaa … ?)

anyway, these daze, with education in such spectacular shape here in the state of excitement, we find komputering is now called ict, the maths and science guys have either moved on, died or are back teachering lower school classes. we find komputering now largely taken over by *others* who have been press ganged into the game want to make sure the kids have nice borders around their business cards. they justify this by saying they are using komputeras as tools.

back then, i once predicted email would be big. i got a couple of others right, but haven’t got the buzz in moodle i thought it deserved. still, there are a whole bunch of secret squirrels nutting away over there on edna, so we can only hope.

so now my big prediction, 2007. the next big thing for teaching komputering/engineering/electronics and stuff for boys seems to be picaxe. a programmable computer chip that can drive electronic circuits. this could be the equivalent of john aloisi’s penalty against uruguay, and provide the lost arts of komputering a new breath of life.

http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/

it is supported by british oil and gas industries, has heaps of support on the website. this is seen as important, cos industry can’t get enough technical type folk to run their enterprises. there is support in Australia with projects made available from an australian company scorpio technology

http://www.scorpiotechnology.com.au/new.shtml

and picaxe chips available locally from altronics

http://www.altronics.com.au/

i suggested this about five years ago, but unfortunately, the shed men have grabbed onto it and claimed it as their own. and there is some evidence of industry sponsorship because it is more to do with *komputering* and little to do with *information technology*. there is allegedly up to the $2 mill up for to encourage schools to adapt this.

anyway, at my school, we are looking to introduce this into an info sys programme in 2008. i might even trial it in late 2007, depending on time. picaxe seems to break into two broad areas, introduction to electronics and programming the chip via a serial cable. lurkers can program using a flow chart and directly download this canverted to assembler and run straight off the chipp.

maybe there is a place to engage *boys* into the tattered remnants of what was once mighty komputering. by using this chip in ait in a kontext, this will baffle curriculum council snoozers enough to allow us to attract kids into something useful, and seen by industry as vital. .