[Squeakland] the non universals

David Corking lists at dcorking.com
Wed Aug 15 04:18:17 PDT 2007

On 8/13/07, Alan Kay  wrote:

>  The non-built-in nature of the powerful ideas on the right hand list
> implies they are generally more difficult to learn -- and this seems to be
> the case. This difficulty makes educational reform very hard because a very
> large number of the gatekeepers in education do not realize these simple
> ideas and tend to perceive and react (not think) using the universal left
> hand list .....

Do you mean primary and secondary education?

This barrier is puzzling to me, as the key gatekeepers in education
(teachers, head teachers, inspectors, government education
departments) are products of the university system, which seems to me
to exist to propagate and build on the hard ideas (greek math,
relativity, quantum theory, sociology, musical harmony ... )

However, teachers have said to me,  "Whatever happened to those
turtles that were so popular when I was in school?"

There seems to me a desire among educators to help as many children
and young adults as possible make the leap from arithmetic to geometry
and calculus, from literacy to literary analysis, or indeed from
melody to harmony.    So where is the difficulty?  A lack of proven
agreed teaching methods, a perception of elitism, or the competing
desire we all feel to make sure everyone leaves school with basic
literacy and numeracy?

If Logo, Etoys and OLPC can teach calculus to 10-year-olds, and
calculus is essential to every engineering craft, and teachers love
encouraging students' creativity, why are so many schools teaching
pupils to use word processors instead?

Puzzled, David

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