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Re: SEUL: Re: Are teachers really so unwilling to learn?

I was thinking about this on the way to work this morning.  Years ago, I taught an
"intro to microcomputers" course for a ComputerLand store.  I made sure that I
defined every technical term I used (for me, technical meant any term I wouldn't
use in normal conversation with my wife), usually by analogy.  I took them through
the boot up process step by step, explaining things as I went.  By the time we made
it to the screen prompt, they had a basic understanding of most computer terms.  We
later went into more detail about how information is organized on disk drives and
how the video systems work.

For example, I'd say that when you turn a computer on it's like a newborn baby.  It
doesn't know anything about itself or the world around it.  Like a baby, it has
some built-in behaviors.  The first one that operates is when the central
processing unit (CPU), the "brains" of the computer, tries to boot.  "Boot" means
to configure itself to be a useful system.  It comes from the longer term,
"boot-strap loader," which in turn derives from the phrase, "to pull yourself up by
your own boot-straps."  This meant to make something of yourself without outside
help.  That's just what the computer is doing when it "boots."

I won't go on; you can see the approach I was taking.  I hope this helps, Joshua.
If I can free up the time, I'll help on this.  Let us all (seul-pub and seul-edu)
know where you go with this.

Joshua S Bernstein wrote:

> Hey,
>         I agree totally, I'd love to write these papers and such on this. I work
> actively in a school with many teachers. If I could get a list of such
> ideas and concepts I could start a small paper on it.
>                                 -Joshua Bernstein
>                                 Gigahertz Computing
> On Sat, 18 Sep 1999 09:38:45 -0400 Doug Loss <dloss@csrlink.net> writes:
> >bickiia@earlham.edu wrote:
> >>
> >> But there are a lot of important ideas in computers that aren't
> >just
> >> little details.  If a teacher wants to *understand* what they are
> >doing,
> >> they need to know these things.  They need to understand the concept
> >of
> >> file types, the notion of folders/directories, the client/server
> >aspect
> >> of the Internet... there's a bunch of them.
> >
> >I'm sure there are books out there that intend to teach such concepts
> >as these.  It's just that they're aimed as Computer Science majors
> >rather than at the general public (which teachers count as in this
> >discussion).
> >
> >It's well within the purview of seul-edu, and probably SEUL in
> >general, to develop conversational guides to the concepts behind
> >current computer use.  We'd better use Linux in any examples we use,
> >of course, but such guides would apply beyond the Linux comunity
> >alone.
> >

Doug Loss            Always acknowledge a fault.  This will throw
dloss@csrlink.net    those in authority off their guard and give
(570) 326-3987       you the opportunity to commit more.
                        Mark Twain