18.11.07

PowePoint

"How to make a presentation and not to bore your audience to death" by Alexi Kaptarev is intended for business people, but kids in schools (and teachers!) should pay attention, too.

12.11.07

Playing "Pawns"

One of the new software applications in our iBooks is "Pawns". It looks like Chess, but the pieces have minds of their owns!

"The object of the game is get pawns (whether black or white) to their wooden box. This is done by placing arrows on the board to tell them where to go. Along the way you must avoid obstacles and enemy chess pieces. Sometimes the enemy chess pieces can simply be avoided, but you may need to encourage them to capture each other instead!" Pawns won 2nd place in the OMG (Original Mac Games) 2005 contest. It is a free download for both Mac and Windows platforms.



Pawns is deceptively simple. The goal is to guide the chess pieces across the board, around the hazards (which may move) and collect keys. The player is given a limited number of arrows with which to build the path for the pawns. In order to do that, the rhythm and pattern of the pawns' movement must be understood, and accommodated.

We are playing Pawns because it is a precursor to computer programming, and a great exercise in problem solving and logical thinking. There is also a great deal of cooperative learning and planning going on when classes are at work on their puzzles.