Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Decompressing

When they knocked on the door, I was only wearing a pair of boxer shorts, which was awkward to say the least. But I jumped into a pair of cargo shorts, threw on a t-shirt and flung open the door. My year 13s, fresh off finishing the Pacific Secondary Senior Certificate (PSSC) Exam for Computer Studies, were patiently waiting for the chocolate I’d promised. I told them to stop by my house after so we could debrief the test.

They’ve been taking PSSC exams for the last week and a half, and for a bunch of them, today’s was the last. The thrill and relief in the room was palpable. It’s funny how when they came into my classroom at the beginning of the year they were all quiet and reserved and nervous, and in my living room this afternoon, they had no problem settling in and laughing loudly and making themselves at home while I went to the freezer to find the chocolate.

They had questions for me about stuff they’d seen on the exam. “What’s a BubbleJet printer?” Marie asked. I was never up on the inkjets and DeskJets and BubbleJets, but the impression I get is they all just spray ink as the paper goes through the printer. “It’s an inkjet printer,” I told her. I talked to Cale tonight, and he thinks BubbleJet is a Canon trademark. It seems like a superfluous detail for a particularly important test to call out. But whatev.

“What about Firewire?” Asked Tui. There was Firewire on there? What a useless test. Perhaps they should have also asked about mini-discs and Zip drives. Technology has left you behind, Firewire.

Mira—who is not in my class, but showed up for chocolate anyway—asked if she could use my laptop to show a video she’d made. She must have a pretty good computer at home; she occasionally asks me to convert her Office 2007 files to Office 2003 so she can edit them on the computers in the lab. In any case, she put together a slideshow using Microsoft Movie Maker, which I didn’t know existed. It’s funny because it’s probably the exact program that I should have used to make the slideshow for group 82’s fiafia. Whatever. My slideshow kicked ass.

Anyway, it turned out Mira built the slideshow, but didn’t realize she had to export it to make it a playable video. So I went to work on setting up the export process while the 4 of them played with my digital camera.

At one point I tried to explain what I was doing and how the computer was extrapolating the data and rendering the sequence and how this sort of relates to the question they’d asked me before the test about lossy compression versus lossless compression.

And believe it or not, they weren’t interested. Tui responded with an, “Oh.” Marie politely nodded her head. But mostly they wanted me to shut up and play the video.

They left soon after it ended, thanking me for the chocolate on their way out the door.

I’m still unclear on how the test went, but they seemed happy enough. It couldn’t have been that bad.

I hope you’re well. Pictures below.


Mira and Tui.


Marie posing with the laptop when I left the room.


Sinaumea.


Marie and Sinaumea.

3 comments:

Margarita said...

where's the pictures of chocolate?

Anonymous said...

lol chocolate?

Ulimasao said...

Hey Matt.
Using Movie Maker- Save then export to email.
This reders the film small enough to upload to youtube.
Or even easily onto your blog.

Best wishes
Sonya