[clug] Linux on new school computers

jm jeffm at ghostgun.com
Wed Nov 28 00:47:32 GMT 2007

Paul Wayper wrote:

> This may be true, but it's a self-defeating argument.  What's the point
> of learning Shakespeare if you're not going to act on the stage?  What's
> the point of learning History if you're not going to be a historian? 
> The answer is easy: because school still actually aims to give everyone
> a broad spectrum of knowledge.  Up until the end of Secondary school
> there is nothing taught that is useful only to one profession, and no
> tool taught exclusively to others.  Do schools teach only linear
> differentiation?  Do they only teach one language?  Do they only teach
> how to write job proposals?  No.  Why should the issue of what software
> is used imply any form of 'teaching' or training for the future?

Reading this reminded me of a passage I read in "Made to Stick" ( 
http://www.madetostick.com/ ) last night. From the original post they 

---- Begin quote Source: 

My grade 9 students have difficulty appreciating the usefulness of the
Standard Form of the equation of a line, prompting them to ask "When
are we ever going to need this?".

This question used to really bother me, and I would look, as a result,
for justification for everything I taught. Now I say, "Never. You will
never use this."

I then go on to remind them that people don't lift weights so that
they will be prepared should, one day, someday knock them over on the
street and lay a barbell across their chests. You lift weights so that
you can knock over a defensive lineman, or carry your groceries or
lift your grandchildren without being sore the next day.

You do math exercises, so that you can improve your ability to think
logically, so that you can be a better lawyer, doctor, architect,
prison warden or parent.

MATH IS MENTAL WEIGHT TRAINING. It is a means to an end, (for most
people), not an end in itself.

---- End quote

Looked at another way replace the mathematics context above with the 
computer context being discussed here. We're all suffering from what the 
authors would call "The Curse of Knowledge". I don't have to explain to 
anyone here why to use Linux or any other OS over that offered by a 
proprietory vendor, but we can't seem to explain it to the intended 
audience. Looking around I also found this link 
http://wynchar.com/cpc/node/222 which summaries the ideas in "Made to 
Stick". The hope here is that this will aid someone in come up with a 
pitch that will catch and hold the decision makers.

On that note it may be better to sell the importance of open standards 
as that is easier to understand and highlight and will naturally lead to 
more open computing such as open source.


More information about the linux mailing list