[Squeakland] the non universals

Alan Kay alan.kay at squeakland.org
Fri Aug 24 05:00:03 PDT 2007

But here's where we should give the special cases amongst the much 
maligned (and quite a bit for good reason) teacher corps great 
credit. Every once in a while a great teacher does light the fires, 
and those that are affected by this never forget it. To me this is 
the way it should be, because many children are close to the intense 
interest that you describe, and contact with another person can be 
just what they need to give them a little more confidence and 
courage, to get them to look at something a little closer.

I've had just a few of these, but they were huge experiences in my life.



At 01:01 AM 8/24/2007, Blake wrote:
>On Thu, 23 Aug 2007 22:33:37 -0700, <mmille10 at comcast.net> wrote:
> > No, they didn't use the term "office suite" back then. I was relating
> > the curriculum to what it would be called now. We did learn about how to
> > use a word processor, spreadsheet, and database application, though.
> > Yes, they were separate applications. May be I didn't make that clearin
> > what I wrote. I remember we used AppleWriter (I think), and VisiCalc,and
> > some database app. whose name I can't remember, all on Apple II's.
>Well, let me apologize if I sounded overly picky. There was a very short
>window (historically speaking) for when "office suite" might have meant
>anything other than "Microsoft Office". It's depressing to hear that (at
>least in your experience) the needle went from oddball geek hobby to
>mundane replacement for typewriter, ledger and filing system. To their
>current state: Monopoly perpetuators.
>I'm maybe 2 years older than you and my experience was at two different
>extremes: I went to a private school which was ahead of the curve as far
>as computers go (having a PDP-11 and several Apple ][s for all those who
>were interested, which was not many), and then to a public school which
>had never seen a computer--put still, net percentage, the difference
>between the two in terms of population that knew or cared about computers
>was probably about the same.
>But you know, it doesn't seem to matter much what subject it is, I've seen
>the same thing in all of them: if the student is interested, nothing will
>stop him; if not, nothing will help. Some of this is a matter of native
>interest: We are not all interested in the same things, and no matter how
>delightfully presented, the subject will remain at best a mild curiosity.
>Too much of it is a matter of interest destroyed: A student attacks a
>subject vigorously but is crushed in some manner or another, say with the
>sort of ritualistic kind of "teaching" Alan describes, where there is no
>understanding, and these days where the rituals have been replaced with a
>shadow of something that "builds self-esteem" while even denigrating
>understanding. And of course the usual brutal traditions of bad teachers.
>There are few techniques to rehabilitate blunted interest and fewer people
>who know how to apply them.
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