Christmas Toys for Children

It’s almost Christmas and time to buy scientific toys for children. Here are some random ideas, of course it’s probably too late for the online stores to deliver – but there’s always next year.

The MikroKopter is a kit helicopter based on four propellors (two rotating in each direction) and is capable of semi-autonomous flight […]

Keating College

Some time ago I spoke to Craig Keating about his plans for a new secondary school in the center of Melbourne. His plan was to focus on the core academic areas and cater to academically gifted students. He had some interesting ideas for his business, one of which was to pay teachers rates that are […]

Programming and Games for Children

The design of levels for computer games is a form of programming, particularly for games with deterministic NPCs. It seems to me that for a large portion of the modern computer user-base the design of games levels will be their first experience of programming computers, the people who don’t start programming by creating games levels […]

Awful Computers for Kids

I have just observed demonstration units of the V-Smile system [1]. They have “educational games” aimed at ages 3-5, 4-7, and some similar ranges. The first thing I noticed was that children who were able to correctly play the games were a lot older than the designated ages. For example 10yo children were playing the […]

School Bag Weight

Matt Bottrell has written about some issues related to the acceptable weight of laptops for school use [1].

Matt cites a reference from the Victorian government stating that a school bag should not be heavier than 10% of the body weight of the child who carries it [2]. So the next thing we need to […]

EeePC for a Teenager

I was asked for advice from a non-technical person about buying a laptop for their 15yo daughter. They were looking to spend $200 or $300.

I suggested that stretching their budget to $500 for a new EeePC would be a better option than the risks associated with a second-hand laptop (laptops are all different in […]

Laptop vs Book Weight

Matt Bottrell wrote an interesting and informative post about laptops for school kids [1]. His conclusion is that based on technical features the OLPC machine is best suited for primary school children and one of the ASUS EeePC, the Intel Classmate, and the Everex Cloudbook would be best suited for high-school students.

The Asus EeePC […]

Cheap Laptops for Children

I was recently browsing an electronics store and noticed some laptops designed for children advertised at $50AU. These machines were vastly different from what most of us think of when the term laptop is used, they had tiny screens, flimsy keyboards, no IO devices, and a small set of proprietary programs. It was more of […]

Ideas for a Home University

There seems to be a recent trend towards home-schooling. The failures of the default school system in most countries are quite apparent and the violence alone is enough of a reason to keep children away from high-schools, even without the education (or lack therof).

I have previously written about University degrees and whether they are […]

The Start of My Computer Career

When I was about 11 years old I decided that I wanted a career related to computers. My first computer was the TEC-1 single-board Z80 based kit computer from Talking Electronics magazine (see the photo below). I think that I built this when I was 10.

The computer is 16cm high and 25cm wide. […]