[Olpc-open] Earth is flat, center of the universe and computers are useless for kids theories, etc.

Ed Montgomery edm at rocketmail.com
Tue Dec 4 14:29:29 EST 2007

>   Only with good software, yes? 
That, is indeed, an entirely different kettle of fish
:-)  How do you define 'good'? :-)  For example, I
define it as linux, etc.  Others define it as MS. 
Still others, Mac, etc.  That is another endless vi vs
emacs war ;-)  (Oh, all right, I'll come out of the
closet...I prefer vi...generally (had to throw that in
to protect myself from the inevitable flames, etc.

 And you are not
> answering tall897's
> question either.  Can you, for example, show the
> proof that learning
> and practicing reading/writing with a computer is
> better than without
> a computer?
The evidence is overwhelming and all around us.  As I
mentioned, for example.  Think about all the people
who use computers, have access to computers, the
internet, etc., and compare them with those who do
not...worldwide, in your imagination.  What do you
think you will find?  But if you really need so-called
'academic' studies (which tend to argue meaninglessly,
endlessly, on both sides of the issue), well, I'll
choose one on my side and post here, you show your
article that shows they are NOT useful (I'll be more
than happy to tear it to shreds, using logic, etc.
So, here's an example:

There are a ton of kids in Maine who have spent the
last few years proving this assumption -- that young
kids don't learn anything useful on computers -- is
wrong. Their program gave Powerbooks to all
middle-school students and has produced remarkable
results. It was recently renewed by the state
legislature and is being expanded to additional grades
with state $$, which is no small feat in a state under
a lot of budget pressure. See link for published
studies, etc. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Maine
decided to go for OLPC's for the
younger-then-middle-school set.
Study link:
The primary problem in Maine's one-powerbook-per-child
program has has come from backwards teachers like your
Calc prof who won't adapt their teaching to the new

But I really don't have time to spend trying to
convince a few flat-earthers that the world is round,
or that the earth is NOT at the center of the
universe, etc.  I recommend they do their 'studies' to
prove the earth is flat, etc., that computers are not
useful in education, and other delusional theories,
etc.  Go for it, but I don't want to spend time on
that.  I want the children to stand on the shoulders
of the giants who have already built computers, the
internet, etc., not trample children back down into
the ground :-)

>   That is a wrong question to ask.  Not all
> pediatricians have kids,
> not all carpenters live in the house they design. 
> The counter is that
> "people who know only one way often generalize it
> too much."  So,
> attacking the lack of "direct experience" would
> never results in a
> fruitful conversation.
I don't have kids either.  That was not the point. 
And I don't believe there are ANY wrong questions to
ask, BTW, IMHO.
The point is if he/she is actually suggesting that
kids should NOT have access to computers for
educational reasons, which, if one agrees with this
hypothesis, is much like a hypothesis that the earth
is flat, or perhaps being unable to see the forest for
the trees...:-)  (And of course, the very fact that
one is reading this, indicates access and use of
computers for educational reasons, wouldn't you agree?
:-))  Don't you think this should be made available,
freely, to anyone who wishes it?  Who would you
deprive of it, and why? :-)

> > Such a lack of compassion for children who have
> > virtually no access to education, now being given
> the
> > opportunity to have a 'school in a box', also
> speaks
> > volumes of your ignorance of children, education,
> etc.
> > and your arrogance as a Ph.D making pronouncements
> > based on typical ivory tower, lack of real world
> > experience, publish or perish (garbage) thinking,
> etc.
>   That kind of statements in turn make you look
> ignorance and
> arrogant.  Don't judge a person as a whole from a
> few emails.
>   I have to say that the tone of "anti-intellectual"
> attitude.  (For
> that matter, it would be nice if tall897 writes with
> his/her real
> identity so that his/her ideas are more
> defensible...)

And let me state right off the bat:  Yes, I AM
ignorant (but I would disagree that I am arrogant...)!
 At least I admit it! :-)  Follow along:
Hmmm...what do you define as "anti-intellectual?!" 
Hardly.  I have a few degrees, but I only admit that
to help dispell the "anti-intellectual" argument.  In
fact, quite the opposite. And quite literally quote
the following mantra (and others ;-) to myself on a
routine basis because it is true (and learning is
lifelong, endless, etc. and I want to spread, rather
than limit that, which is what tall897 is apparently
advocating), and consider myself to be truly ignorant,
regardless, since we can only 'know' a tiny,
insignificant speck of what there is to 'know' :-):

Socrates as quoted in Lives of Eminent Philosophers

    * I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.

 Denying children access to computers is indeed, the
ultimate 'anti-intellectual' act, if you will, since
you will be denying them access to the intellectual
content of the internet, the largest accessible
network of access to humankind's knowledge that we are
so fortunate to have.

And I am not concerned with identity at all.  Perhaps
they feel insecure, or require privacy or whatever. 
I'm sure tall897 thinks they mean well, but some ideas
are just SOOO bad, hurtful, perhaps even
abusive...well, I am passionate about access to
education by any means, and ESPECIALLY the amazing
tool of a computer, that I find the idea of
restricting it to be tantamount to abuse.  Deny a
child's body food or water...that is physical abuse. 
Deny a child's brain a stimulating, INTELLECTUAL tool,
and that is mental/psychological abuse, IMHO.

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