[IAEP] sugar and the digital age (was Re: notes from the field - Mongolia)

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Thu Oct 9 21:13:27 EDT 2008

Am 09.10.2008 um 19:10 schrieb elana langer:

> there is a very common feeling amongst policy makers and teacher that
> the XO doesn't really prepare students for the field of IT. There was
> a pilot project done in Mongolia that was run by the Japanese gov't
> where they introduced Linux to 4 towns. The students went on to study
> at the Mongolian IT college and apparently "failed" all their courses.
> The outcome was that these students were not prepared for "real IT".
> Personally I feel that this is bogus and that it is the notion of IT,
> education and learning that  need to be examined at the university
> level as well - however - just as I have learned when trying to reform
> educational methodologies there is a need to meet the norm half way
> (at least) and work from within - it would be nice if the OS could be
> designed in a similar gentler manner.
> Teachers, parents, gov't officials and many others are concerned that
> the computer doesn't conform to their expectations of a computer. Bear
> in mind that there was a lot promised in this computer like
> collaboration and mesh and the crank (everyone asks about the damn
> crank) that are still in development and all get lumped into the
> understanding of the OS.
> Essentially, in the minds of these people, fluency on windows, being
> able to do power point presentations and surf the web is what being
> prepared means. - I think if we could make some things a little more
> straightforward like saving, storing and accessing files (in the way
> PC users and Mac users can sort their way out in the opposite OS
> pretty intuitively) it would help bridge the gap to traditional
> expectations.

Well, the XO already goes way more than half-way towards the popular  
notions of how computers should work. Almost all the software stack is  
identical to what you find on an arbitrary desktop. Demanding that it  
should go even more towards what is currently hip in this very  
immature field of "IT" doesn't sound too compelling if the goal is to  
empower future generations to use computers as malleable tools for  
thought, rather than as enslaving magical devices for office work. I'm  
glad at least some aspects of the system question the current status  
quo. Kudos to the Sugar developers for not giving in to the crowd's  

- Bert -

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