My contribution to recent comments/questions, etc.

Mankovsky, Sheine sheine.mankovsky2 at
Sun Mar 23 09:53:10 PST 2003

Congratulations, Jim on your fabulous progress.   And you're just a techie:)

It took me about five years to get our local public school board to:
--find out how and find the person who woul create a link to Squeakland from
our website, and get it done ( I have a webpage, nothing
fancy, but it's there)
--find out how to start anything re the use of Squeak in an education
bureaucracy, very big one at a time when the organization is in turmoil and
resources are being ripped out of it by the provincial government
--get senior staff to give their nod and two staff--a vice-principal and a
superintendent, in my Ward--who saw Squeak for what it is, and were
interested, had the authority to make decisions, and authority to allocate
--get their stellar assistance/over committed time to organize said
workshops for about 60 staff
--rope in a personal friend who was on the verge of retiring to help with
the workshops voluntarily who personally recruited Sebastian Hergott (can't
say enough good things about Sebastian Hergott) and created a Squeak forum
for kids/others to "play" in, totally voluntarily to this day (that would be
Jane Matthews)
--get senior staff in my Ward to encourage staff to download Squeak and use
it,  or at least give kids the opportunity to.  (recently I heard that a
third teacher is using Squeak and has joined our forum)
--support Seymour Papert and Alan Kay's talks in Toronto sponsored by the
Fields Institute on Research in Mathematical Sciences.  They paid, I
promoted the event across the country, through e-mail mainly.   
--support a live webcast of the event, including e-mailed questions, the
archive of which we all eagerly await
--the webcast made it possible to invite the world.  Folks who attended got
a Squeak CD, courtesy of our technical department
--host Alan and Seymour to work with kids using Squeak at Don Mills Middle
School.  All were energized beyond belief.  I enjoyed the events as vacation
public library board and the Ontario Science Centre to begin to interest
them in using Squeak in their programming for kids, and 
--get the support of another trustee to whom I will be forever indebted who
will happily support my motion to the Board to adopt a formal commitment to
continuing the Squeak trial.  Incidentally, our board has been taken over by
the Province of Ontario and so this motion, if passed, will be "advice" to
the provinicially appointed Supervisor

I did all of this as a volunteer because I believe in what Alan, Kim, et al
are doing to make this a more beautiful, better and peaceful world for our

You're doing great in an environment that is as unfriendly to learning as
ours, despite the good intentions and commitment of a lot of people.  Mega
congratulations again.  Congratulations to your colleague for assisting you.
Drop me a line at sheine.mankovsky at if you think I can be of any


P. S.  Re the print manual, still a no.  Tutorials on-line and people to
collaborate/consult with on a forum such as this one are still my choice.
Still a "manual", just a lot richer.  And we'd never have had the
opportunity for this connection had you been limited to the black on the

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Jim Ford [SMTP:jaford at]
> Sent:	Saturday, March 22, 2003 7:52 PM
> To:	squeakland at
> Subject:	Re: My contribution to recent comments/questions, etc.
> On Sun, Mar 23, 2003 at 12:08:08AM -0500, Mankovsky, Sheine wrote:
> > I'd like to add a few comments with respect to the contributions folks
> have
> > made in the last little while.  First, on the matter of a book (text) to
> > "help" teachers use Squeak in the classroom, I would suggest that it's
> not
> > useful to go that route.  The computer is the book.
> Yes - but you can miss an awfull lot of nuggets of meat, tucked away in
> corners you never new existed. There's nothing quite like playing with a
> system (computer software/video recorder/car) until you think you know all
> about it, then sitting down with the manual (away from the computer) only
> to rush back 5 mins later saying 'Wow, I didn't know you could do that!'
> As I've stated elsewhere, I'm not a teacher but a secondary school Science
> Technician (and have also been a Primary School Governor). From my
> observations in the U.K., schools are ridgidly constrained by 'The
> Curriculum', which is targetted towards pupils passing their G.C.S.Es.
> and
> 'A' Level examinations. Most teachers are so focussed towards this that
> they have no time for anything that is not in The Curriculum. Furthermore,
> the timetable is totally geared towards 'Delivering The Curriculum', such
> that
> there is no room for any flexibility or introduction of new ideas. With
> regard to computer related technology, most teachers horizons stretch no
> further that M.S. Word - with the more adventurous ones using Excel (and
> calling it a database). The pupils spend most of their time in I.T.
> cutting
> and pasting the same piece of text from Encarta or downloading the same
> clipart, for their projects. Creativity - sorry it's no longer in 'The
> Curriculum'! 
> I've managed to interest one of out Network Technicians in Squeak and am
> encouraging him to install it on the School Network. If this happens, I'll
> try to start a lunchtime 'club' to introduce pupils to Squeak. I'll get no
> encouragment from the teachers - after all as I've said before - what
> could
> I possibly know about anything, I'm only a technician!
> Regards: Jim Ford

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