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2012-366 Day 34 – Teaching II

Two weeks in and we’re doing fairly well. The first week we went over the syllabus and the first chapter, which was the basics of hardware and software (largely terminology). This week we covered software ideas (why software works the way it works) and the first half of networking. Granted it was only the last hour of class, but time absolutely FLEW while we were going over the networking topic.

The first semester teaching this class, I came up with a fun (simplified) demonstration of the Internet Protocol where I took a stack of index cards, placed 5 characters of a message on each (including spaces) and then numbered them. I then have everyone stand up and hand the ordered stack to a person on one of the two sides of the room. The rules are simple, all the cards have to get to a person on the other side of the room, and you can hand your card to anyone in the next row. If the first person you turn to is busy, find the next person in the same row and try to hand it to them, until you find someone who can take the card. This example replicates how information moves along the internet, with the packets finding their own way to the end goal. After demonstrating that the packets will usually arrive at the destination out of order (the last card to arrive today was 32 out of 33, with random batches inside that were out of order, sometimes as many as five places), we can then use the numbering to reorder the message and retrieve the information.

It’s gone over well all three times I’ve done it, and serves to break up the lecture a bit. I’m still working on developing interesting examples for some of the other areas, but I’m rather proud of this one.

This is a subject that I love to teach, and it is a gigantic advantage to have such a firm grasp on it. It allows me to be very flexible with the topics and to answer pretty much any question that the students can pose. I enjoy the looks of sudden comprehension that come across every few minutes, and I know the students appreciate the glimpses into the inner workings of the machine.

Weight: 233.4 Max: 240 Min: 233.4 Body Fat %: 24.7
Yearly Mileage: 10.5 miles
Current Belt: Purple – Next Belt: Orange – Next Test Date: 3/3/12
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Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , .

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