Explorer Simulator

Concepts being developed: files and their locations, names and attributes

One of the problems that I have encountered with trying to help students develop their file management skills, along with their awareness of concepts related to drives, files, folders and their attributes has been that it's hard to set up a large set of different of different exercises. One or two exercises is fine, but after that, I have tended to run out of energy (or disk space) to continue to create a lot of different files with various extension in different drives, to be re-organised in different folders.

A solution to this problem is the Java Explorer, which is a simulated "Windows Explorer" environment. The configuration is an XML file, and by editing it, you can have as many different files or folders as you like - but you don't need to create the physical files. Students can load different scenarios (different XML files), so - in principle - every student in the class could be doing a different set of file management exercises, minimising the "cheating factor". One can even use exotic drive letters or UNC paths. The Explorer is written in Java and runs without installation.

"Java Explorer" has been used at Yarra Valley Grammar in 2007. There are still a few bugs which annoy students, which we hope to deal with before the year's out. It was written by a former student as a favour to the school, but Paul Chandler will be taking over the its development. If you are interested in this product, please e-mail pcha@uniting.com.au