[Olpc-open] Academics et al.

Ed Montgomery edm at rocketmail.com
Wed Dec 5 08:15:32 EST 2007


> 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
> emacs war ;-)

  No it isn't.  The software in which kids can open
the hood, explore,
and learn is good.  Its UI should invite exploration. 
I'm biased on
this regard, but documents like below might give you
the idea on that


Squeak, eh? :-)  Now you have jumped from 'software'
to programming language.  I.e. you have jumped from OS
preference to programming language preference.  I
prefer python to squeak.  Another endless 'vi vs
emacs' debate.  No thanks! :-)  You still haven't
defined 'good' for software? ;-)

> I was trying to help you.  For example, my boss'
group did an
expriment with kids in 70's and showed that
hyper-linked computerized
documents was more effective than paper.  They have
two groups of kids
and tried one method on each.

> But if you really need so-called
> 'academic' studies (which tend to argue
> 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.
> :-))

  Some academics probably gave you that impression,
but, you know,
good academics are *very* good.  Many good things we
use are based on
the work of these academic studies.  Criticizing whole
based on an overly generalized statement is a bad

I see.  So, please define, or give examples of *very*
good academics.  I did not criticize whole
"academics".  I specifically criticized AN academic,
purporting that computers should be denied to
children, etc.  Please read more carefully, etc. and
don't over generalize. :-)

  Wow.  Calling others "flat-earthers" wouldn't help
here at all.

Why not?  If you are proposing that computers are not
useful for children, then I am attempting to
communicate to you that I consider this to be on the
same level as proposing that the world is flat, etc. 
Please feel free to call anything I write to be
comparable, if you wish.

  What if you see some academics showing positive
empirical results of
computer use in the classrooms.  If you want to be
consistent, you
have to dismiss that research, and label the
researcher with some bad
label, too.

Why?  I simple compare and choose.  It's called
'making a decision'.  I would label, oh,
witch-burning, to be a bad decision, based on the
voice of many 'academics' of the time.  Or how about
trephaning, considered by many 'academics' of the time
to be an excellent treatment?  Shall I label that
'good', and modern surgery 'bad'?

> 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.

  The number of degree doesn't matter.  When you see a
you don't try to refute but just put a label on the
people. That is
anti-intellectual for sure.

Quite true, number doesn't matter.  I would even
submit that degree(s) doesn't matter.  (It simply
improves the odds of PERHAPS more understanding, etc.)
 I did not just 'put a label' on someone.  I very
specifically put a label on someone proposing an (bad)
idea that I believe to be harmful to children. And I
PRECISELY DID refute this idea that computers should
be withheld from children, the moment it appeared! And
this should be given an appropriate label, which I
did.  And I do not agree in any way that that is

> Socrates as quoted in Lives of Eminent Philosophers
>     * I know nothing except the fact of my

  Exactly!  Because of this philosophy, he never jump
to the
conclusions.  He spent time to discuss with people who
disagree with
him and showed, say, one is just confined in "ivory
tower" only after
doing that.  You do the opposite.  You don't mind
labeling people who
disagree with you.  And when asked, your answer was
basically "because
I have experience."  That is like the sophistes
Socrates criticized.

Nonsense.  I don't mind at all if someone 'disagrees'
with me.  In fact, I encourage it (but be prepared to
prove, demonstrate, your IDEAS, etc., rather than
stating your degrees, etc.! and be prepared to be
challenged, etc.:-) I was labeling and challenging a
bad, hurtful idea, in my opinion. I could care less if
someone agrees or not.  But I will not stand idly by
when someone pronounces an idea, because they are a
Ph.D, child psychologist, and that this somehow
implies that this must therefore be a 'good' idea,
ignoring the society around them, (data, if you like),
etc.  This deserves to be appropriately labeled, which
I believe I did. 

  After the first 1/3rd of this email, it is
irrelevant.  So feel free
to ignore.  But I just didn't want some extreme
statements on an olpc
related list unchallenged...

Which is precisely what I did.  I challenged an
extreme statement on an olpc related list, that
computers should not be given to children, etc. 
Egads, I think we may be agreeing on a couple of
points, and disagreeing on others. :-)  Such is life.

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