Summer Tech Day: Classmate PC as a fun Learning Tool

I had the pleasure of attending a cool event a the California Academy of Science that brought a bit of Science, a bit of Technology, and a bit of fun kid chaos! Intel sponsored a Summer Tech Day event here that brought in a handful of press and Intel, their kids, and a bunch of Intel-powered classmate PCs for some cool activities. (See the live Twitter feed) So all the kids in attendance, including my 10 year old daughter Mackenzie, got to use a classmate PC to run through an organized curriculum of science explorations. They got a bit of training before they embarked by myself and Mackenzie on how to use the classmates and how they were going to use them in the exhibit. Then they were off in groups led by docents.

They got to see a Coral Reef and do a photo scavenge hunt, take videos of them playing in the Discovery Tidal Pool, use ArtRage touch drawing tool to capture what they saw at the Flooded Amazon Rain Forest, and take pictures and videos of the Coral Reef Diver! Then they summed it all up by documenting a “story web” using Kidspiration. It was really cool to see them get excited about using classmate in these exhibits. Not only did they do the standard interactions with the exhibits, but they actually got more out of the exhibits than a standard kid – they used more of their senses and learning modes. They viewed the exhibits and then interacted on a higher level by taking pictures, making detailed drawings and then capturing in detail what they did and learned via a mind map/story web. Then they got to take home their work on a USB stick. At the end of the event, I heard many of the kids saying – “That was the coolest computer”, “I want one”, and one kid even used some ingenious techniques to try to get one of the coordinators to let them take it home! It was refreshing to see kids get excited about learning and be able to experience a hands on learning experience using innovative technology. The Dad in me found it cool to bring my daughter Mackenzie in to help, as she has also been a heavy user of her classmate PC and a it of an expert, and watch her helping the younger kids us the laptop and give them creative ideas! We will definitely be hosting more of these types of events so that more kids can experience this fun activity!

 

Here are some links to pictures and videos of the fun event:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd3iojTe_c8

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/intelphotos/sets/72157621752730889/show/

 

Thanks for reading – Jeff (@ClassmatePCDude)

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