[Edu-sig] ACM Urges Obama to Include CS as CoreComponentofScience, Math Education

gerry_lowry (alliston ontario canada) gerry.lowry at abilitybusinesscomputerservices.com
Sat Jan 3 16:09:49 CET 2009

k: =. kirby urner  (partial quotes)
g: =. gerry lowry (reponses to k)   

k:  To say "your average student" subtracts info from my "pre-teen" as at least I was giving an age bracket.

g:  I'm referring to "average students" of any age.  Individual nurtured growth is relevant to me.
    Age is merely a less relevant factor.

k:  "Given my premise that the XO, because of design and appearance, is really designed for
      pre secondary school aged kids (more for elementary)

g:  like this one:  http://www.olpcnews.com/images/cherlin-xo.jpg             B-)

     Sadly, I've not had the opportunity to experience an XO-1 personally and tactiley.
     Hence, I'm hopeful that the OLPC XO-1 will be useful to any person fortunate enough to have one.

k:  I am seeing the proposal to have J on the XO as a commitment to writing curriculum for the J language for pre-teens.

g:  currucula for all ages and abilities could be written for J on the XO.
     J's IDE "Studio, Labs..." capability facilitates electronic curricula for diverse age groups, et cetera.
     This in turn could substantially diminish need for paper based curricula.

k:  I'm a big believer in hybrid environments meaning we don't standardize on any one language or environment,
     aren't in any way trying to get everyone on the same page.  No "national curriculum" (blech),
     no lock-stepping with ETS, a strategy that has destroyed a generation already,
     so no need to keep repeating that same mistake over and over.

g:  I'm reminded of the computing world's oft repeated mantra:
       "If your only tool is a hammer, then all of your problems will tend to look like nails".
     Also, the Perl community's TIMTOWTDI (There IS More Than One Way To Do It).

    In my own words, many tools make fine minds.  Ken Iverson referred to "Notation as a tool of thought" *
    in his 1979 Turing award essay wherein Ken quoted A. N. Whitehead:
          "By relieving the brain of all unnecessary work, a good notation sets it free to concentrate
           on more advanced problems, and in effect increases the mental power of the race".

                *ACM SIGAPL APL Quote Quad, Volume 35 ,  Issue 1-2  (March, June 2007)
                      In honor of Kenneth E. Iverson; Pages: 2 - 31; ISSN:0163-6006 

                 Communications of the ACM; Volume 23 ,  Issue 8  (August 1980) table of contents
                 Pages: 444 - 465; ISSN:0001-0782 

                 ACM Turing award lectures book contents, Page: 1979; Year of Publication: 2007 

    So I'm not implying "J way or no way".  In fact, I'm very strongly opposed to such a restrictive idea.
    Rather, I'm simply saying J and the J IDE offer certain advantages for their inclusion in the
    "ships with installed" list for the OLPC XO-1.  Of course, I'm powerless to do more than suggest this.
    I'd also like to see C++, FORTH, LISP, LOGO, Pascal, and PROLOG as part of the "ships with installed"
    list as well as a version of MASM since the OLPC XO-1 CPU is programable with x86 assembly language.

k:  I believe in competing models, different states (nations, corporations) trying different approaches.

g:  I prefer co-operating models wherein we learn from each others different approaches with
    the goal of improving the learner's environment and positively affective the learner's success potential.

k:  For marketing purposes, we intimate that if your high school doesn't teach you any SQL, you
     should be concerned, very concerned

g:  Perhaps one should be even more concerned if there's too much emphasis on SQL ...
    there are other potentially better ways to stream and process data than via the relational
    database model.  Not every data mapping fits conveniently into tuples; otherwise,
    normalization might be more normal.

k:   ... calling for a nationalized curriculum with some top-down "advisory board" (guffaw).

g:  I think I'm agreeing with kirby here.  National goals are good things, e.g.,
    the spirit of the "No child left behind" act. **  

               **   http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/index.html

    The problem is that nationalized curricula can too swiftly become a political vehicle
    for denial of services and thus restricting otherwise possible growth.  A not so
    abstract example is the absense in many locales of effective sex education and
    the corresponding number of illegitimate enfants born because of ignorance
    induced pregnancies caused by myths such as "You can't get pregnant the first
    time you have sexual intercourse".

k:  prodigies fall through the cracks way too often

g:  agreed.  apparently the world's smartest person is employed as a bartender.
    it pains me when imho a good mind goes to waste.

    at the same time, many minds could still be more productive and more rounded in humanistic
    and scientific ways with a better educational system ... too often some educational systems
    want to separate carpenters from financial wizards.  This practice forgets the fact that
    many of us are late bloomers and also that in the care of different gardeners, we might
    blossom in unforeseen ways.

k:  Great song about that guy [Srinivasa Ramanujan] http://www.archive.org/details/Ramanujan

g:  thanks!!!  

k:  http://worldgame.blogspot.com/search?q=Ramanujan

g:  more thanks!!!  Fuller would have liked to have seen an experiment where 100 000 persons
    were paid NOT to work.  He felt one of them would be likely to make a grand contribution
    to society that would justify the experiment.  I like to think Fuller almost correct; imho,
    I think that collectively, they sum of the participants' contributions would justify the experiment.

    While we will not likely see such an experiment, it's nevertheless possible that
    equivalent societal benefits might occur if schemes (sic) like OLPC become successes.

k:  anyone not being taught any SQL in high school would count as a member of an oppressed group

g:  but nowhere nearly as oppressed as the children who die of hunger related diseases,
    one every few seconds.

k:  human resources (matching the right folks to the right positions).

g:  I've been around since before the term "human resources" was introduced AFAIK;
    when first introduced, the emphasis was on "human"; in the last few decades, the
    emphasis has shifted from "human" to "resources" and not in a positive way.
    i.e., humans are now seen as resources, specifically as things rather than as people.


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