Two things first (Cuz besides the SQUAD you guys as Modders make it rock):
1. Mods are essential to what is planned (hence why I am posting here)
2. Continued support of those mods, or the ability of maintaining those mods would be helpful, and I'm well aware of my capabilities as low as they are.
And little background for reference: I'm a Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy teacher for a high school district. I have some experience in C#. I also teach college level chemistry along with environmental science and sustainability when openings exist. I also need to be in a 12 step program for gaming if you ask my wife! With KSP I have well over 1000 hours clocked since it was in early release. Seriously I would be docking modules for orbital stations while we have dinner and she would protest. Usually with some sarcasm but also with interest about why.
So to get to the meat of the subject here it is. I already have an astronomy club for the school, we use telescopes and various programs to enlighten students. This includes some planning and discussion of missions beyond what has already happened. What I would like to do is get those other students that have an edge in gaming and science to come over. I would like to create an X prize for lack of an original term and have students complete "goals".
I have gotten, through district lending and also personal purchasing, a number of workstations that students can use for Kerbal along with district approval to buy the program. These computers also are used for exoplanet discovery (through a program to analyze light curves) and class research. I had to purchase the video cards and memory upgrades (hey some teachers complain about buying paper and pencils so the least I could do). The trick here is bringing it past the "gaming" experience.
For what I propose for students is to achieve certain goals (in minimum of groups of 2 and maybe more with design/control groups):
1. landing on an orbital (around kerbin or other body)
a. all delta v calculations must be made before attempt
b. Retrieval of samples
c. Successful return of any Kerbals*
1) Unkerbaled/Unmanned missions exempt
2) Manned missions *
d. Extra Provision for future mission
e. Cost of mission
f. reuse of equipment at target site
a. all delta v calculations must be made for attempt
b. coat of mission
c. orbital supplies for kerbaled/manned mission
The reason I bring this to the modding community is that a few of the mods that I have used seem integral to what I would like to achieve. Without them then it becomes easier but not as "fun". Let me list a few that I believe are essential:
1. Tac LS/USI LS (unsure which would be better and would like to ask for input from you)
I have used TAC in my personal games but like the Idea of habitability which roverdude has brought to UKS
Students should be able to change/update craft after they have launched the mission and or mission packages. (We do this as humans why not let them)
3. Kronos vessel viewer:
to share with teams the design process
I would keep this to a master file to allow students to check their calculations (maybe import craft files)
Extra if it can be incorporated:
5. Kerbal Planetary base System (This may be because i solely like the form factor)
6. Near Future Mods
These are just a few mods that I feel are necessary to get the feel and the complexity of space exploration across. I know what you are thinking. How am I to get anyone from the hormone age (14-18) to do any of this? Trust me if I say there are video games in the back of the room I won't have to encourage them at all.
OK now the single most important question: Kerbal EDU or just plain Kerbal? I know that most threads say that all mods should work with Kerbal EDU. I have some doubt that I need the EDU version due to the nature of my experience with the game. It seems as if the EDU version lags significantly behind the full version (this is semantic since I visit the K-EDU forums often and the last mention is 1.0.2) in updates and therefore will lag behind in ability to use the communities mods. I also see little reason to limit the experience for students if I have the prerequisite knowledge to help them.
By they way this in not a condemnation of KerbalEDU, its great as it is since I own a copy, just I want an honest opinion.