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Re: Doubts and question about the merging of LinEx in Debian Edu

On Friday 18 January 2008, nigel barker wrote:
> Andreas Tille wrote:
> > On Thu, 17 Jan 2008, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) wrote:
> >> That's a very interesting video, that I hadn't seen yet :)
> >>
> >> but it only reinforces the need for basic computer skills, it shows
> >> the computers as a basic tool used in every class, replacing things
> >> like encyclopedias, and reference books
> >> -> if those kids lack a basic computer literacy at this point, there
> >> would
> >> be something seriously wrong with those schools
> >
> > Sure.  I agree with you that pupils should be able to cope with
> > different desktops as they should with say different textbooks.  But I
> > do not think that exchanging a textbook in the middle of the year is a
> > good idea and thus I think sticking to something you are used to is not
> > really a bad idea.

bad analogy: the textbook is more akin to the specific educational app being 
used (say kalzium, or gcompris), the desktop in that analogy would be the 

You don't become confused because one class room has a blue bookshelf, and 
the other a green one, or because the light switch is to the left of the 
door instead of the right.

Similarly you shouldn't have any problems because the panel is on the top 
instead of the bottom, or the menubutton having a different logo, or the 
window decorations looking different.

> > You just become distracted by unimportant things like different optics,
> > different shortcuts etc.  The fact that you should be able to cope with
> > different desktops does not mean that it makes sense to switch your
> > working environment frequently.

The human mind is extremely good at extrapolating essential characteristics 
from examples. But you can't generalise from a single example. 

Which is why confronting kids to different desktops is 'A Good Thing'. It 
gives them a basis of reference that allows them to separate the important 
elements from the purely cosmetic differences (without requiring actual 
computer classes, which would be the alternative and/or complement).

In today's world basic computer literacy is as important as being able to 
read, and do basic math. You might be able to get along without it, but 
it'll be a serious handicap. 
-> Any school not adressing this now basic skill in some way is fundamentaly 
missing the mark.

> At my school we have used icewm, gnome, then KDE in successive years,
> but that is not the point. The point is that Linex is used by all the
> civil servants in Extremadura. Those are the people who shouldn't have
> unnecessary GUI changes, and who will complain when things don't work
> the way they used to. 

The goal of a school is to teach, the goal of a civil servant is to get his 
work done. That's an entirely different set of parameters.

In the case of the civil servant I'll agree that changing things around 
makes no sense what so ever (though offering choice for those that want it 
still does). That assesment does not carry over to a school environment.

> Linex is probably the world leader in widespread linux adoption. We should
> listen to their advice. 

no disagreement on that, there's lots to be learned from LinEX, but as whith 
everything, there's also lots of room for improvement.
Cheers, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis)

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