[Edu-sig] Microsoft's KPL

Kirby Urner urnerk at qwest.net
Sat Oct 8 01:01:13 CEST 2005

> And I guess that if Microsoft wants to undertake a campaign to suggest
> that
> their business agenda and the realization of my son's potential are
> cosmically related, I should, since I don't particularly admire the
> organization welcome their right to spend good money to make themselves
> Art

Microsoft already has a track record.  KPL is not the first move in any
chess game.  It's like the 45th or 46th.  Look at the 'Magic School Bus'
series of CD ROM titles, the encyclopedias.  Yes, it's less involved with
direct teaching of CS and job-related skills, but Ms. Frizzle is a recruiter
nonetheless, for a way of life, an attitude towards science (embrace it, get
messy).  For older people, there's Microsoft University and MCSE.

I'm not extolling, not trying to hype MSFT or IBM, just pointing out the
obvious:  given a big computer company and a huge target market of people
wanting to someday be desirable as coworkers in Silicon Valley, Redmond,
wherever, it's not surprising that a relationship develops.  We see the same
phenomenon around Google, and its sometimes clever recruiting campaigns.  

This design pattern is not inherently ridiculous, but can become so,
especially if it's a circus recruiting for clowns.

In the Middle Ages, and Renaissance, we had these guilds, offering
apprenticeships, and doing obvious work in the community (blacksmiths,
artisans, moneychangers and what have you).  Today, kids carry laptops like
musical instruments and want to learn to play them.  Is school teaching this
kind of music?  A little, some more than others.  And home internet is
great.  To me it's not surprising when young talents start dreaming of what
they could learn if allowed to wander the halls of a computer giant -- like
little Bachs yearning to hear real organ music.

I realize this makes corporations sound sort of like religions in their
outreaching for new lifers.  And it's true.  Some companies are really
cultures, sometimes global in scope.  They enter the public school system
and form push/pull relationships with other clients of that system, setting
up interesting cross-currents.  That's partly why I think public school
stands up well over time, perhaps best of all in urban settings.  Too many
of the private academies over-protect their bumpkins, in the name of some
purist ideology, usually as professed by key faculty -- and so they miss a
lot of what goes on in the big outside world.  Life goes on without 'em.

Public schools tend to be more like Grand Central, especially in a state
with a big city like yours, the Empire State (not called that for nuthin').
Cosmopolis, Gotham, whatever.


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