[Edu-sig] Shuttleworth Summit

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sun Apr 23 07:09:25 CEST 2006


A fair enough request.

Summary: Schooling is not the same as education. Any country seeking to 
develop is not going to improve itself in the 21st century by adopting an 
outdated child management method called "schooling" -- which even in the 
USA has been discarded by the parents of about one to two million 
homeschooled and unschooled kids (and growing). Efforts to change 
schooling with open ended technology have a history of failure (e.g. 
Lego/Logo) as the school system micromanages them to neutralize their 
potential. Propping up such schooling systems may be ultimately 
counterproductive and simply prolong the suffering, as opposed to 
investing funds into newer ideas, like "free schools" or home-based 
"unschooling". Ideally, instead of a school, put a free-admission science 
and technology museum and library as an educational resource center in 
every community which kids can visit whenever they want (100 successful 
demonstration centers might change public opinion). Focus investments 
where the solutions are coming from, not where the problems are caused. A 
future "educational Python" should focus more on being a good match for 
those new educational paradigms than trying to prop up the old failing 
one. So, design an educational Python evolved from Squeak ideals that is 
good for use in TuxLabs, Fablabs, science centers, libraries, and homes. 
If it is also helpful to kids at school, that would be a nice bonus.

--Paul Fernhout
A mantra for those who would help others who are disadvantaged with less 
likelihood of alienating them (especially in other countries): "I help you 
not out of charity, but out of a realization that my own liberation is 
bound up with yours. I hope someday you pass on this gift to others when 
you are able to."

Guido van Rossum wrote:
> Paul,
> Is there any way you could say this in less than 20 lines? As it
> stands it's way too long for me to read.
> I'd like to present Shuttleworth's POV in capsule.
> South Africa's educational system is bankrupt (not literally but
> practically). With limited means compared to the SA department of
> education (see the financials downloadable from tsf.org.za)
> Shuttleworth is trying to provide something useful for SA's poorest
> kids to prevent a whole generation from being lost. I severely doubt
> that whatever might fix the US educational system will work in SA.
> --Guido

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