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Re: The various types of education

Doug writes:
>Bill's post about the lessons that are taught at the lower grade levels
>brought something to mind.  I think we have two fundamentally different
>concepts of computer education here.  The one Bill was shown is education
>_about_ computers--how to use them, what the various components do, etc.  The
>other one, and the one I think most of were thinking of, is education _with_
>computers--using computers to help teach about non-computer (or not
>necessarily computer) related topics.  These are both valuable things, but
>are quite different in the lessons to be taught and probably somewhat
>different in the tools to be used.

This was something I didn't realize until I talked to a computer lab teacher
last night. The school district here is something like 10,000 kids and a
number of them haven't been previously exposed to a computer. They don't
necessarily know you can't take a computer or terminal and throw it on the
floor. There's a big learning process before the kids are ready to start using
the computer to learn something. I was impressed  with how closely the
lessions Bill described matched those I got from the lab teacher even though
the schools are several thousand miles apart. Almost like there is a national
set of teaching standards.

>For education about computers, I think we need to develop a good typing
>tutor, similar to any of the many that are available for Mac/Win computers.
>We also could use something along the lines of the old DOS Tutor programs,
>but targetted to Linux.  I'm sending this message along to a fellow from the
>Netherlands, Arnold Hendriks, who mentioned to me a while ago that he might
>try to write such a tutorial program.  Arnold, I hope you're still
>considering doing so (or have started).  I'm sure that if you have any
>questions or requests for assistance we can come up with something.  Finally,
>a good computer-based-training (CBT) program to familiarize students with
>the components would be useful.

A thought that's been on my mind is to consider the usefulness of a standard
user interface. Kids can get real upset if the program doesn't work the way
they expect it to. Throw the computer on the floor. I guess we have really got
to know what the kids are capable of at each grade level.