Tag Archives: ktouch

Using Sudoku In The Classroom

I needed a warm-up for my students. I told them that the most important muscles for them to exercise were their fingers and brain. I had KTouch to help them warm-up their fingers, but what to use for their brains? Sudoku of course.

Every class period, especially the early morning periods, my students will do 20 minutes worth of Sudoku puzzles. I have incentivized the time by offering points on their final grade for every puzzle completed during this, “official Sudoku,” time period. This is only the second day of trying it, but as we speak, my students in their free time are playing Sudoku and not even for points.

I picked Sudoku for a few reasons. First off, it is part of the default Ubuntu distribution, which means no need to maintain yet another piece of software on my computer images. Second, the game allows for multiple solutions to achieve one goal. I immediately drew the comparison between fixing computer problems and playing Sudoku: there are many ways to go about achieving the same thing. This of course being part of my continued battle against the rigid form of thinking enforced within the Kenyan education system. And finally, the application itself has many forms of interaction (mouse, keyboard, etc), allowing for my students to develop not only their own method of solving Sudoku puzzles, but also their own use-patterns with the application. The end hope is for them to passively develop efficiency in application interaction.

We’ll see how it all turns out.

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Linux: KTouch

It is the dream of every open source enthusiast to have a problem of theirs nearly perfectly solved by a pre-existing piece of FOSS software, especially one that sits above the version 1.0 marker and has a degree of polish one would expect from a paid-for, closed source project. As a Peace Corps volunteer teaching basic intro to computers, one of the most important topics to teach is typing skills. There exist many typing programs, but the FOSS world only has a few worth mentioning, and after trying a couple, the one I found to be most complete and conducive to my teaching style is KTouch (easily available in most major Linux Distro repos).

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