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

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Tue Dec 16 09:15:12 CET 2008

On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 11:16 PM, kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com> wrote:
> Edward Cherlin's insistent pointing to the XO is helping turn some
> wheels on my end...

It doesn't actually have to be an XO. We have projects forming up to
use Sugar on a Stick with diskless computers. That will allow us to
take almost all of the discards from the computer refurbishing

> 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.

Also math and science.

> 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,
> c'mon).
> 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.

We're definitely getting uptake among basketball, football, and soccer players.

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

I wanted to offer child-size t-shirts along with Give One Get One, for
the point where orders outstrip production. Then you could buy your
grandchild or whomever a shirt saying "Grandma bought me an XO for
Christmas, but all I have so far is this funny t-shirt." And then
offer transfers with the late laptops, for crossing out the complaint
and saying, "I got it! I got it!"

> 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.

Not just that. You have to have a story, like Walt Whitman or Mark
Twain or Carl Sandburg telling Americans who they are. So far we have
a hope. But there are stories. Doug Engelbart's hero story leading up
to The Mother of All Demos, Alan Kay and Seymour Papert as the
prophets in the wilderness, and a few others.

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

I don't think that this will be a matter of defiant public
demonstrations. My story (and I'm sticking to it) is that Sugar's
virtues can sneak into the schools where there isn't even a crack in
the doors, unnoticed until after they have taken over, and that there
will be no way to undo the changes, because they make students,
teachers, and parents happier and more productive.

> Kirby
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Silent Thunder (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) is my name
And Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, The Truth my destination.

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