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Tech Class

Activities that we have done (or are doing) in the '23-'24 school year

  • This document provides links to documents that describe the details of the activities that we are doing.

  • In this document, I also include some connections to other subjects that the students might be learning in other homeschool classes. 

 

I am looking forward to offering the Tech Class again this fall for senior and junior high homeschooled students. The classes will be held at Bergen EPC Church on Monday afternoon. The exact time has not been determined yet. This class will involve lots of hands-on learning activities (described below) along with some instruction on computer technology.

Although we will revisit some topics from last year, we will also explore some new areas:

  • The LibreOffice Suite and Computer Systems as described below.

  • Building vehicles using the Raspberry Pi Pico as a controller along with exploring additional sensors and controls.

  • Ubuntu Studio

    • Graphic Design in Inkscape

    • Exploration of Digital Audio Workstations

    • Scribus Desktop Publishing​

As students go through the year they will be encouraged to work on projects of their choice using some of these technologies and perhaps others.

Here's a FAQ page for parents. For more information please contact Rob Willhoft.

Here are the various activities that we did in the '22-'23 school year.

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Productivity (new for '23-'24 year)

LibreOffice Suite

LibreOffice is a free software suite that has many of the same features as Microsoft Office and the Google Office Suite. We will concentrate on using the spreadsheet program to organize information, perform scientific and other calculations, and create graphs. We will also spend some time learning some advanced features in the word processor and how to create presentation slides.

Computer Systems (new for '23-'24 year)

PC Hardware and Operating Systems

We will learn about PC systems and actually perform some upgrades on the systems we use for the class. In addition to installing several Linux Operating Systems, we will explore some of the tools that can be used to increase security and performance. We will also learn about how both wired and wireless networks operate. We will create systems that communicate over the network. This client-server technology is fundamental to the operation of the Internet.

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Coding

Python Programming Language

We will learn basic programming using the Python programming language. This is a popular programming language that is used in many areas of the computer and technology disciplines. We will concentrate not only on the actual syntax of the language, but also on how to design computer software.

Hardware

Raspberry Pi Single Board Computer

The Raspberry Pi is a small, fully-functional computer that runs the Linux Operating System. Not only does this computer run ordinary Python programs, but also allows the computer to interact with devices in the real world - lights, switches, sensors, motors, etc. One of the things that we might pursue as a more advanced project is the control of a simple vehicle. 

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Digital Media

Photos, Audio, and Video

We will explore the creation and editing of photographs, music (and other audio files), and videos. Our emphasis will be on the use of free software that can be installed on the students' home computers. We will learn GIMP (a photo editor), Audacity (an audio editor), and Kdenlive (a video editor).

Design

3D Modeling and Printing

In the spring of the year, the students will have an opportunity to create and print 3D models. We will learn how to use the online, free Tinkercad program. 3D modeling and printing are one of the driving technologies in the manufacturing, healthcare, and entertainment industries. The Tinkercad software is developed by Autocad, the industry leader in 3D design and manufacturing.

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Information about the 2022-23 Class

Starting in the fall of 2022, I offered a technology class for senior and junior high homeschooled students. We had five young men in 8th to 10th grade in the class for the '22-'23 school year. The classes were held at Bergen EPC Church on Thursday afternoon from 12:30 to 2:00 right after the Homeschooling Co-op that meets at the church. The class involved lots of hands-on learning activities (described below) along with some instruction on computer technology and related topics.

Here are the various activities that we did in the '22-'23 school year.

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The members of the class at Dr. Willhoft's home for a 3D printing demonstration.

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