[Edu-sig] The best way to predict the future...

Gregor Lingl glingl at aon.at
Tue Jul 11 22:56:49 CEST 2006

kirby urner schrieb:
> OK Arthur, that's more clear, what you're saying.
Alas, not for me! I must complain that I simply do not understand large 
 of this intellectually and psychologically outstanding conversation.  
Just as an
example: it took me about 10 minutes to find out the meaning of 'smarminess'

Perhaps a more pragmatical and less psychosicial philosophical approach 
also bring some benefits.

Given the fact, that I'm not really sure, what's going on here, I'll 
comment only one
section of your recent posting.
> But the reality is:  teachers are afraid of Python, of hackers, of
> geekdom, of technology.  We live in a culture of fear and ignorance.
> We had that student on earlier, complaining he couldn't demo has class
> project, because even a Linux boot CD was to scary for the school's IT
> cult.  They regarded it as a threat to their authority.
This is simply nonsense (and to some degree even a dangerous point of view)
 - at least seen from my point of view as an Austrian teacher. (I would 
be interested
to know if the situation in the USA/Canada is completely different from 

In my experience, nowdays teachers are overloaded with  a huge set of 
tasks, many of them belonging more to the branch of social work than to that
of education.  To do their work succesfully they have to educate 
themselves -
continually for instance in seminars - about things like 'social learning',
confilct management, coaching and many more similar things.

( There are many reasons for this, the main one beeing that there is not 
money spent for the educational sector by the state. )

Those who teach computer science normally teach also other subjects like 
physics or even Latin or religious education. The computer education 
part normally
comprises 20 percent plus/minus of their teaching obligations.

They are overwhelmed by an incredibly enourmous amount of new 
developments in
this sector and they have to choose which parts of them first to *learn* 
(for themselves)
and then to *teach*.

They are not afraid of - whatever - but they are under an enormous 
pressure and have
to make a "clever" and economical (in terms of time and other 
ressources)  decision.

I for my part consider it to be my obligation to show, that the choice 
of Python as
a first programming language is a clever one (in several respects I need 
not talk about
here). I did this by writing a book for kids _and_teachers_, by 
providing the
xturtle module which (imho) meets just those requirements, by giving 
teacher's trainig courses and so on.

The reality is, that you have to accept, that 98% of the cs teachers are not
computer geeks/freaks/nerds like Kirby, Arthur, Andre (and perhaps to
la esser degree me) - but they are surely interested to do a good job taking
into accoutn their limited ressources.

What can we do? We can try to reach them and convince them, that our 
is practical. Or we can try to change the politics concerning the 
educational sector
of the society in order to achieve better conditions for education 

Or both.


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