[K12OSN] Best approach to calm the school's administration ab out Linux?

troy banther troybanther at plateautel.net
Fri May 28 20:31:58 UTC 2004

Nicely said.

On Fri, 2004-05-28 at 13:52, Henry Hartley wrote:
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Joseph Bishay [mailto:joseph.bishay at utoronto.ca] 
> >> Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 2:50 PM
> >> 
> >> What would be the best way to reassure them that the system
> >> we have IS able to prepare the students for the future (IE:
> >> Doesn't need to be Windows)? Note that in our area (Toronto)
> >> there is no ministry-mandated computer curriculum, so
> >> essentially the lab is used as a reference room for other
> >> subjects. 
> When you teach math to your students, you teach facts and concepts, you
> don't teach how to use a particular calculator.
> When you teach language to your students, you teach the parts of speech,
> grammar and sentence structure, you don't tell them precisely what to say.
> When you teach art to your students, you teach them how to express
> themselves creatively, you don't tell them what to draw.
> When you teach computer programming to students, you teach them about logic,
> data and control structures, you don't teach them any particular language
> (well, you might but that's secondary).
> When you teach typing to your students, you teach them the QWERTY keyboard
> layout (probably) and it doesn't matter if you use a typewriter, a Wintel PC
> or a Macintosh.
> When you teach your students how to do research, you teach them how to use
> books, conduct interviews, perform experiments, etc., you don't just teach
> them to use the encyclopedia for everything.  
> When you teach computer technology to your students, you teach them how a
> computer works and what it can do, you don't teach them how to use Microsoft
> Word.
> It's all about teaching concepts.
> Or, another approach...
> What are you teaching?
> Are you teaching a course in Microsoft Word or are you teaching your
> students to write?  As an employer, I'd rather have one person who can write
> but can't find the computer's power switch than ten MS Word savvy people who
> cannot express an idea to save their life.
> Are you teaching a course in Microsoft Excel or are you teaching your
> students how to calculate numeric values?  I'd rather have one person who
> understands the relationships between numbers and can write a formula to
> calculate a value than ten people who can use Excel but cannot tell me why
> the numbers don't add up to the right total (or don't know how to tell if
> the total is right in the first place).
> Are you teaching a course in Adobe Photoshop or are you teaching design?
> I'd rather have one computer illiterate person who can put colors and shapes
> together to convey a feeling than ten who know how to use Photoshop but
> cannot.
> The computer is a tool.  I didn't grow up using a computer in school.  Sure,
> it useful to know how to use a particular brand of tool.  But the ability to
> know what the tool is good for is vastly more important.  I'm a photographer
> in my spare time.  I've used dozens of different cameras over the years.
> They differed from each other in some significant ways - digital vs. film,
> 35mm vs. 120mm vs. 4x5in, rangefinder vs. SLR vs. speed graphic.  The
> mechanics of the camera change and I've had to adapt.  But subject,
> composition, exposure - those things are the same with any camera.  If I had
> concentrated on learning to use a Canon rangefinder (my first camera) and
> nothing else, I'd have had a hard time with the digital SLR I use now, or my
> grandfather's Speed Graphic.
> Anyway, I hope some of that is helpful.

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