Monday, December 17, 2012

My minimum computer lab

A desktop PC running Windows (with printer, scanner, camera, and web access)

A MAC laptop

A netbook running Windows

A netbook running Linux

A tablet running Android (plus an external keyboard)

Pocket computer

(Network at least some of these.)

Programmable pocket calculators


Digital powered breadboard and chip set

External harddrives, diskdrives, and CD ROM

Software including: Solaris OS, Office Suite, drawing/graphics package, statistics/plotting package, C++ development environment, JAVA development environment, BASIC development environment, PROLOG development environment

Media: CDs, floppies, USB drives, memory sticks, SD cards, etc.

Thorough documentation for all of the above.

Simple circuits versus practical circuits

Students need to be taught the distinction between "simple" circuits and "practical" circuits.  A simple circuit has the minimum number of components necessary to perform its function. It is used to explain how the device (oscillator, amplifier, logic gate, etc.) works.  If you build the simple circuit it may take some adjustment ("playing") in order to get the device to function and its performance may be poor.  A practical circuit will typically have far more component parts but will function reliably.  The practical circuit is the one you will use regularly out in the world.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


People who have difficulty in maintaining effort and finishing large or difficult projects may find it easier if the project can be devided into many smaller tasks/steps, each to be completed as a "milestone."