[Squeakland] I want to introduce squeakland to my Chinese friends

Milan Zimmermann milan.zimmermann at sympatico.ca
Sat Apr 22 18:29:19 PDT 2006

On 2006 April 9 11:12, Jim Ford wrote:
> Alan Kay wrote:
> > Hi Jim --
> >
> > Squeak runs exactly the same on more than 25 platforms, including MS.
> Hi Alan.
> What I actually meant was MS apps. - Word, Excel, Powerpoint and I.E..
> Most members of staff are scarcely aware that anything else exists, and
> have so little understanding of computers that they can't even imagine a
> need for anything else. I don't think this attitude is uncommon in U.K.
> secondary schools and is largely due to schools needing to 'deliver the
> curriculum', and pressure to perform well in published exam 'league
> tables'. 

>From my limited observation, this is similar what we have in Canada, Ontario 
as well. My daughters are in grade 9, and while the high school's program is 
quite involved in computer-related classes (there are various forms of 
business classes, accounting, publishing, "computer science", networking and 
probably more), it is all centered around learning MS Office, sort of MS 
Office training for the kid's first job. This is even more ironic due to the 
fact that the Ontario government spent good millions of dollars on buying 
StarOffice, (and of course everyone can install OO), the school system simply 
does not seem to use it at all in the courses. Not that OO would be a big 
step up from MS Office, but the rest of the world can eventually save in that 
format (notion of which escapes many of our professional developer 
colleagues, so why should school teachers be asked to be aware). 

It is as if high school education would be a caterer to business. I do not 
think it is the teachers' fault, I am imagining a reaction of a parent who's 
child is being taught something like OO instead: "Why don't you teach them MS 
Office, .net or Java, they will not use this stuff in their job, and they wil 
be able to get $XYZ an hour doing Java .. or happily create an Access 
database for the boss ... or something like that :(".

BTW, for computer science class in the high school, it is Java and VB. A 
friend of ours kids go to school in Vienna and they teach them Java as well, 
so I suppose the ordeal is world - wide. Last year I wrote to one of the 
teachers suggesting to volunteer a extra-curriculum class using Squeak but 
did not get an answer, I suppose they did not know what it was (altough I 
tried to explain).

Also, on your note about 'delivering a curriculum', it seems that with more 
pressure to "standardize" and "measure", any interest to focus on creativity 
is disappearing, what is interesting is that it math and science classes seem 
to be suffering the most. 


> It probably also helps explain why the U.K. continues to slide 
> into seedy decline! If  Britain wasn't a 'nation of shopkeepers' in
> Napoleon's day, then it certainly is now - factories being pulled down
> and supermarkets being built in their places!
> Jim Ford
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