[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]

[school-discuss] FOSS and FOOD [Was Re: "Educating Tux" + IT apathy]

Marilyn -

Add me to the list of people that think your banquet analogy is fantastic.
Next week I am speaking about FOSS and education at MassCue and a couple of weeks after that I am running Vermont's first Open Source and Education conference and I would like to use your analogy in both places. I was thinking about modifying in the following way:

"Using Open Source in Schools can be a bit surreal - imagine the following:

It is lunch time at your school and all the kids troop down to the dining hall, which is divided in half with a large glass wall down the middle. On one side, the majority of students are charged for a lunch of mystery meat and instant mash potatoes. On the other side is a huge buffet of amazing international foods that is all you can eat and free. Standing at the entrance to the dining hall is the Assistant Superintendent for Technology, telling everyone that they must go into the mystery meat room. Occasionally, someone will find a worm or some other horrible thing in the meat, complain loudly, dump the plate and then...surreally...get right back in line for another serving. Because some students notice what is happening on the other side of the glass wall, they ask if they can go into that room. They are told no, because most of the world eats mystery meat, there might be spices in the foreign food and besides, they just put salt and pepper in the mystery meat so it is really better now. The more determined of the kids wait until the Ass. Sup. of Tech is distracted and sneak into room, enjoy a fabulous lunch and start telling their friends about it on the playground. So the next day, their friends sneak past...."

Thanks for the great post.

Bryant Patten
Executive Director
National Center for Open Source and Education

On Mar 12, 2008, at 11:30 AM, Marilyn Hagle wrote:

Joel and James,

Oh my . . . state testing and bureaucratic straitjackets! Don't get me

And also the dumb ass proprietary software packages that promise miracles (forgive me - I am originally from Iowa where we are plain spoken folks) -
that's another topic.

Getting my students to be creative has been more of a stretch this year than ever before. They have spent all of their time in school preparing for tests. I feel like I need to bring my little kids' building blocks and
just let them play.

And rural Texas schools do not believe in the importance of offering fine arts courses. Very few schools have choir. Art classes are minimal. Band is
sometimes required for football programs.  :)

So, I think you just need to do what you can, wherever you can, for as long as you can. This year I am using Linux for everything and having a blast - but I
know I make some people nervous.

Hey . . . what do you think about hosting a fine arts gallery for student work created with FOSS? Have we talked about this already? I am not big into contests where there is only one winner . . . but a celebration of student achievement with some positive critiques. I could send you some pretty cool student generated Blender, Gimp, and Cinelerra files - then to the local people
we can say "look at this!"

Maybe we need a formal online school that home school kids and rural schools
afford that teaches music, art, science, poetry and general creativity.

James . . . your additional comments on the dumbing down of ed tech (whew!) really sum it up. That quest for power thing screwed us. Is it just the
natural sequence of organizational evolution?

To be fair, we all know there are many good people in the group too - but it is
definitely a mixed bag.

And yes . . . "But the brown sugar is in reality an artificially sweetened
hypnotic cleverly designed to make the worms more palatable."  LOL  :)

Thanks for letting me ramble on philosophically.


Quoting Joel Kahn <jj2kk4@xxxxxxxxx>:

Marilyn Hagle wrote:

Many in educational IT management - probably the
middle managers who are misunderstood and struggling
to keep everything running - are concerned about
tightly controlling the teachers. After all . . .
they have been breaking copyright laws, pirating
software, and inviting viruses and spyware into the
LAN.  So now teachers everywhere are in lock-down mode.
Experimentation is thwarted, new ideas are discouraged,
and creativity is scorned.

And let's not forget atrocities like the No Child Left
Behind Act, which forces teachers *and* students into
bureaucratic straitjackets and makes it incredibly hard
to even think about changing anything. A proprietary
software package that is marketed with wild promises of
a "guarantee to boost scores on standardized tests" has
a big edge over any wild and risky creative things like
GIMP or Tux Paint. If you allow those misbehaving kids
and teachers to start really experimenting with any
truly flexible software, who knows what kind of trouble
we all might be getting ourselves into. . . .


______________________________________________________________________ ______________
Never miss a thing.  Make Yahoo your home page.