[Edu-sig] re: Knowledge Technology Toolkit

Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Sun Jan 4 11:42:48 EST 2004

Paul writes -

>Our, the BCNGroup, position is quite different.  We claim that modern
>computer science is confused to the point of creating false dysfunction.
>We say "false" here because much of the IT dysfunction can not be
>rationally understood based only on a shallow analysis.  One has to look at
>economic and political forces to understand why our society does not
>distribute control over information except in the form of shallow
>advertising and political spin.  I sense that you agree with this in
>principle.  The practical aspects is what is at issue.  Yes?

We agree that power structures are relevant, and mass delusions are
sometimes, in part, induced in conformity with the influence of those power
structures. (I don't see evil lurkers, I see 'natural' phenomena - but more
a sand storm, here, than a sunny day) 

But by my instinct and analysis, the perception of the saving power of
technology in the realm of education is tending toward delusion, and for the
very reasons that can be ascertained by your own analysis.

Which is why I have a bit of a perceivable chip on my shoulder when getting
a first impression of what the BCNGroup is about.

And quite in contrary to your statement I have no beef with the "control of
information in our society".  A red herring, if ever there was one. Google
one's way to anything.  The problem is sifting that information in a manor
that has a chance of separating the meaningful, from the ego-full.
Obviously, if information is to remain as wonderfully free as it now is,
that is a task for each of us to try to undertake - for ourselves and for
those to whom we might have a custodial role in some sense - as best we can
in our own way.  Isn't that exactly what free information has to necessarily
exactly demand. 

>So the fundamental difference between a natural system and a computer model
>is a core issue that needs to be in any knowledge science or computer
>science curriculum (even in K-12).

I perceive the issue.

But how about we skip the computer model entirely in most of the K-12 range,
and focus on the natural system. We then save the time and expense of
building the knowledge systems necessary to assure that the distinction
between the computer models we insist on presenting them, and the natural
systems, are adequately drawn.  We emphasize the natural system radically,
in fact, as a counter influence to the video games, mass media, and other
"mass hypnosis" phenomena about which we seem to share concern.  And save
lots of $, to boot. 

I don't need to marry that alternative.  I need to see it seriously
considered in a serious look at the issues and alternatives. 

>Your position that Python is not a solution is a potentially damaging one
>to my efforts, because it really is a position of inhibiting any solution
>from addressing complex underlying causes of what are deeply controlled

In my view, I don't have a position so much, as a realistic view of the
available evidence. New evidence will mean new positions. An approach
burdened, I guess, by having been an English major ;).



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