Northwest NEWS

February 4, 2002


Open House highlights a student's high tech life

Senior Staff Reporter
   On a giant movie screen at one end of the classroom, two larger than life ants with bulging blinking eyes engage in conversation.
   The movie, "A Bug's Life," plays softly as students work quietly at their computers creating their own computer-animated project.
   Their teacher explains the reason the movie is on while the students work. "It's for motivation," he says, adding that the students have been working on their projects for about four days. He explains that the students have taken colorful illustrations from the children's book "Little Bird" and placed them in the computer.
   With the assistance of Macromedia's Flash animation software, the students are able to bring action to the pictures.
   For example, one of the pages in the children's book has a picture of a motionless green frog and the words: "Jump, said the frog." But when the picture is transferred to the computer screen, something amazing happens. With the help of animation software, the student breathes life into the illustration.
   As quick as anyone can read the word "jump," the green frog leaps upward. Action! Just like the action in the animated Disney film at the side of the room.
   Computer Animation is one of numerous new and interesting courses available to students at Woodinville High School.
   There are also classes offering computer graphics as well as CAD (computer aided drafting) classes. With the use of new computer programs, students can draw self-portraits or design houses.
   There's also a TV lab where students produce three- to five-minute television broadcasts that are shown twice a week to the student body through an in-house channel. The mini-news show covers a spectrum of issues from traffic safety programs to sports and weather.
   The broadcasts even have public service announcements (PSA), such as one that reminds students to "be courteous" and "keep it clean" in the cafeteria.
   On Thursday, Jan. 24, Woodinville High School hosted a High Tech Open House for area Chamber of Commerce members to observe a day in the life of a student at Woodinville High. Principal Vicki Puckett led a tour through a variety of different classes that showcase the latest uses for computers in education.
   The group visited the Career Library where students can research careers on the Web.
   They proceeded to the Math Lab and discovered that students not only solve math problems on the computer but also use graphing calculators as an aid in their lessons.
   In the PC Lab, business classes on Excel and Word are conducted. Nearby in a keyboarding class, students learn on Mac G-4s with 17-inch flat screen monitors. The cutting-edge computers look straight out of the future.
   Woodinville High School has 1500 students and 260 classes, with about 70 classes in session at one time. The High Tech Open House was an opportunity for Chamber members to catch a glimpse of how computers are used to prepare students for the future.