[LeapList] Re: [Edu-sig] Now I went and did it!

Brian Coyle brianc@magicnet.net
Wed, 04 Oct 2000 23:56:25 -0400

> On Wed, 4 Oct 2000, Steve Litt wrote:

[an incredible selection of great comments and URLs snipped]

mwa and many others from the edu-sig make some great points about the
(miserable) state of education...

Take a moment or two to dig up a copy of Cliff Stohl's "Silicon Snake

My kids are 13 (going on thirty) and 5-1/2.   At home, both kids use
and Linux.   I started each out (@ 18 months) with an ancient TTY
and when they learned to spell/type their name, they graduated to
the computer (they needed to login).

From there, they progressed thru the typical point-and-click eye candy
games and educational fare (the JumpStart series from Knowledge
is highly recommended).

Their school system uses primarily Apple (MACs & newer equipment for 
the older kids, hand-me down ][e's for the elementary schools).  I 
deliberately didn't rush out to purchase any Apple gear for the house
simply because I wanted the kids to get some diversity in their computer

I think it was fifth or sixth grade before the teachers started sending
computer work home. Even then, there were no problems with common data 
exchanges between the stuff at home and the MACs at school.

However!  (and I think Mark Alexander echo'd this earlier)  elementary
level students shouldn't focus on computers as a medium for education.
They need to get the communication skills, the reading, and the
(my daughter can do much more simple math in her head than I can- I 
relied way too much on pocket calculators in my school daze :)
Sure they can USE the computers to become familiar, but it really
be the primary (or worse- only) tool in the instructors bag...

And since the elementary kids are only USING the computer, any brand of
hardware or OS or software should be OK.  Ideally they should get
to many different types.  This is where Linux becomes the shining star
in the budget crunched educators world.  

Because Linux can run on such a wide range of low-end hardware, it
attractive to recycle the stuff out of the middle and high schools down
the elementary schools.

Linux is free, but does have a hidden administrative cost.  I've
in the past this is really an opportunity for the school administration
create an advanced computing class, where the high school kids can gain
real world experience managing the systems for the elementary kids.

Best of luck putting your worms back into the can!  ;)

When researching your demo programs, don't neglect the older MS-DOS
catalog.  Much of this great software will run on Linux with dosemu...

"Open source software - with no walls and fences, who needs Windows and