[Edu-sig] music:piano :: math:laptop ?

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Tue Dec 16 08:16:40 CET 2008

Edward Cherlin's insistent pointing to the XO is helping turn some
wheels on my end...

Way cool that Gibson Guitar was a sponsor of OSCON that time, shows
how geeks are being seen from a Nashville angle:  have laptop will
travel, the solo musician model, except we also form bands.  Really,
so many analogies, between musicians and coders.

What calculators, slide rules before 'em, have gotten us used to, is
this idea that mathematics comes with devices, gizmos, more than just
chalk or pencil.  We need machinery! (a slide rule has moving parts,

What's interesting is how reluctant the marketing groups have been, to
link their brands to something so Buck Rogers and futuristic as the
XO, or even to the basic idea of giving kids laptops.

It has all the elements:  breakthrough technologies, hero developers
(many genders and ethnicities), adorable children, cool interface...
you'd think the cereal companies would be all over it, giving kids
something to marvel at while crunching on wholesome grains.

How about we start a campaign among tweens and teens called "Where's
My Laptop?"

Let's encourage that sense of entitlement we get listening to R0ml,
who says gnu math, CP4E, computer literacy (lots of words for it) is
what in the old days would be called "basic rhetoric".

To participate in civic life, you needed to know how to structure an
argument, defend a position.  Well, you still need those skills, but
you also need that laptop.  How else do you expect to patch in,
participate in the life of democracy.

What do we want?  Laptop!  When do we want it?  Now!


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