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

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Sat Jan 3 11:24:02 EST 2009

@g: My favorite: "You don't know something until you know it in more
than three ways." -- Marvin Minsky

On Sat, Jan 3, 2009 at 10:09 AM, gerry_lowry (alliston ontario canada)
<gerry.lowry at abilitybusinesscomputerservices.com> wrote:
> 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
>                 ISBN:0-201-0779X-X
>    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.
> Regards,
> Gerry
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Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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