"Riding the Electromagnetic Wave," pg. 6
Let’s explore the many uses of electromagnetic waves as we follow Belle’s picture from cell phone to DSL to Wi-Fi.
Vocabulary, Process Analysis
"The Wireless Home of the Future," pg. 11
Imagine a house where appliances respond to the presence of family members and clothes communicate custom-care settings to washers and dryers.
Process Analysis, Technological Applications
"On the Prowl: How Search Engines Mine the Web," pg. 14
Millions of computer users surf the Web every day, but few know how their favorite search engine works. Learn how mathematics makes "Googling" possible. Sidebars (pgs. 16 and 17) offer tips for effective Web searching and a brief look at the founders of Google.
Deductive Reasoning, Research Skills
"Bookmark This!" pg. 18
A team of middle school students introduces themselves to ODYSSEY readers with a compilation of their favorite Web sites.
Research Skills, Drawing Conclusions
"On-line Journals? It’s Enough to Bloggle Your Mind!" pg. 20
Welcome to the world of Weblogs, or "blogs" — the latest version of on-line conversations. Sidebars explain how to create your own blog and stay out of trouble while doing it.
Applications, Following Directions
"Crazy Maze" (Brain Strain), pg. 23
Wallace’s caterpillar is using a Jordan curve as a hiding place, but is he inside or outside?
Deductive Reasoning, Following Directions
"Heard It Through the Grapevine," pg. 24
The science of networks explores everything from how rumors spread to the workings of the World Wide Web. This play is a real "twister" of a science project!
Inductive Reasoning, Vocabulary
"The Play’s the Thing," pg. 28
The kids of the Children’s Musical Theater in San Jose, California, used on-line chat rooms and e-mails to create their own musical, PULSE: The Rhythm of Life. Sign up for the Theater as Digital Activity (TADA) and help with the next project.
Science and Society, Creative Writing
"Pirates on the Web? The Downloading Debate" pg. 31
Downloading music from a Web site or a P2P network contact can be breaking the law. ODYSSEY asks for readers’ comments on this ethical issue. A sidebar describes the latest devices for taking music with you.
"Reveal Code," pg. 34
While most computer and software companies guard their source codes closely, Richard Stallman makes his codes available to all. GNU/Linux may be the first step toward an open software community in our wired world. Read an interview with Stallman (pg. 36).
Technological Applications, Decision-making
"Tech-Trash Tragedy," pg. 38
Seventh-grade students from Zeeland, Michigan, collect, refurbish, and recycle computers, printers, and monitors. Organize your own computer or cell phone recycling project and raise money while cleaning up the environment.
Environmental Awareness, Problem-solving
"What’s Up?" (including "Planet Watch") pg. 40
In this month of the "Full Harvest Moon," look for Jupiter in the evening. Saturn and Venus appear in early morning. Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter form a triangle late in the month. Use the Big Dipper to s the one on pg. 24.)
- Write a brief essay comparing and contrasting the house of the future (as described in the article) and the house of today. Give specific examples of what will change and what will probably stay the same.
- Pretend that you are a real estate agent trying to sell a futuristic, wireless house to a reluctant client. Make your "sales pitch," pointing out the features and benefits of the home.
- Talk It Over:
- Is file-sharing stealing? Do libraries infringe on the rights of writers and musicians to be paid for their work? Summarize the arguments on both sides of this controversy.
- How can listeners enjoy all the benefits of file-sharing, while artists continue to be paid for their work? What ideas does the article offer? What ideas do you have?
- History: Controversies over copyright are nothing new. Use your library and the Web to find out why Edgar Allen Poe earned so little for his work and how Mark Twain fought with the Canadian government over The Prince and the Pauper.
- School Policy/Current Events: Does your school have a policy on copyright violations? Ask the director of your media center what photocopying is allowed. What are the laws regarding educational use of copied materials? How closely does your school monitor compliance with those laws? Make a bulletin board of laws and policies to explain "fair use" in education.
- Science: Several methods of compressing music files are mentioned in the article. Select a song from a CD and download it to a classroom computer. Then try to use one or more of those methods to compress the file. Play the song. Can you tell the difference? Is one compression format better than another? Conduct a "blind test" trial to see if other students in your school can tell the difference between the original and the compressed file.
- Student Assessment:
- Form an opinion on whether the on-line sharing of music files should be legal. Organize a list of reasons to support your point of view. Present your arguments in a written report or a persuasive speech.
- E-mail ODYSSEY ([email protected]) with your opinion (see #1). Use information from the article to support your argument and check the Web site www.odysseymagzine.com to see if your comments are posted.
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -Ken Olson, President of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977Whole-Class Project: When was the cell phone invented? How about the cordless phone? What about the first telephone? When was the CD player invented? The cassette tape player? The 8-track? The reel-to-reel player? Select other modern appliances in the "Wired World" and trace them back through their earlier forms. Present your findings in a class time line of electronic invention.
"This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication." -Western Union memo, 1876Community Connection: Invite a spokesperson from a local computer-training center to speak with your class about current and future careers in computer technology. Ask your guest to address some of the questions and concerns raised in this issue of ODYSSEY.
"I think there’s a world market for about five computers." -Thomas J. Watson, chairman of the board of IBM, 1943Small-Group Collaborative Presentation: Break the class into teams of three students. Assign roles within each team: researcher, scribe, and presenter. Working from the theme "The Environmental Impact of Our Wired World," have each group select a specific subtopic to research and present to the class. Possible topics include computer recycling, mining of minerals used in computers, aboveground and underground wires, undersea cables, "space junk" from communications satellites, and others.
"We don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet." -Hewlett-Packard’s rejection of Steve Jobs, who founded Apple Computers in 1976Whole-School Project: With the help of principal, staff, and teachers, organize a schoolwide "Pre-electricity Day." For one day, everyone in the school will do without computers, televisions, CD players, public address system, and even bells. (You might want to make an exception for lights, heat, air conditioning — or maybe not.) At the end of the day, ask all participants to fill out a form describing what they liked about the day and what they didn’t. Compile everyone’s perceptions into a volume titled A Day in a Wireless World.