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

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On Fri, Jan 18, 2008 at 08:35:27PM +0100, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) wrote:
>On Friday 18 January 2008, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
>> On Fri, Jan 18, 2008 at 06:56:38PM +0100, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) 
>> >On Friday 18 January 2008, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
>> >> On Thu, Jan 17, 2008 at 06:34:29PM +0100, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis)
>> >
>> >wrote:
>> >>> agreed that setting a systemwide default is sensible, but if at 
>> >>> all posible there should be no barrier for users to trying out a 
>> >>> different desktop
>> >>
>> >> It might make sense for teachers to force a specific desktop on 
>> >> the students in some situations. If a class is being taught a 
>> >> common topic (rather than each individually working independently) 
>> >> differences in interface could cause too much distraction.
>> >
>> >I can see your point, but that doesn't stop a school from using 
>> >Gnome in one class, and KDE in another, and XFCE in yet another. (or 
>> >Gnome one day, and KDE the next).
>> I do not want to stop schools from having choice.
>I, I'm not saying we should enforce switching desktops, I'm saying we 
>should facilitate it.

If we do not offer the teachers a feature to lock the desktops of their 
students to a specific desktop, then in reality we force them to deal 
with multiple desktops, as their students most probably will go explore.

Exploring is good. But exploring the shape of the teaching instrument is 
not good if it steals focus from the topic going on in the classroom.

If that was not your point, then hey - we are discussing past each other 

>> and the school may have good reasons for locking down said choice for 
>> their students.
>the only 'reason' I can think of is ease of technical support, are 
>there any other reasons to stop studens using kde over gnome (or the 
>other way around)?

I honestly do believe so, yes.

>> >> An analogy would be that the students do not get to pick the math 
>> >> book to read - they all follow the same book for consistency.
>> >
>> >as I've said in my reply to Nigel and Andreas, the desktop is more 
>> >akin to the classroom then the textbook (which would be the 
>> >site/document/program used).
>> I like your analogy better that my own.
>> Using that analogy, teachers may have a good reason to avoid some 
>> possible locations to perform their teaching. I remember being taught 
>> english in a chemistry lab once in primary school, which was quite 
>> distracting.
>> Even if I as a student might have found it "exciting" to receive 
>> knowledge in that (at that time) exotic place, my teacher might have 
>> a different opinion - from a _pedagogical_ standpoint.
>keeping with the analogy, what I'm arguing is that a switch of 
>classroom should not be something scary, if it is something is 
>fundamentaly wrong.
>Right now for most regular computer users that switch is extremely 
>scary. And that's largely because they've never been outside their one 
>classroom, and have no experience with other classrooms.

You sure have low expectations for teachers!

And you seem to ignore my example (I did not talk about teaching too 
scared of ever leaving their safety zone).

When you do not consider my arguments there's no point in continuing the 

>> >> My point here being that if the _teachers_ say they have a need 
>> >> for consistency, then it quite possible makes good sense to 
>> >> respect that over "freedom of choice" for the students.
>> >
>> >I absolutely agree that you have to get the teachers on board, but 
>> >I'm also firmly convinced that this particular issue isn't usually 
>> >looked at from a from a pedagogical perspective, but from a 
>> >technical support one.
>> >
>> >(and in a school environment the pedagogical perspective should have 
>> >way more weight).
>> Do I understand you correctly, that the feature of removing desktop 
>> choice for the students should be avoided for Skolelinux because we 
>> suspect teachers to abuse it for non-pedagogical purposes?
>No, that's not what I meant:
>I'm saying that schools should offer their students experience with 
>different desktops (and browsers, and ...). Whether they do that by 
>encouraging students to explore freely, or by (for example) using KDE 
>in chemistry class, and gnome in math classs is a completely orthogonal 

...and in your opinion we should "facilitate" them in the above by 
offering them a computer system _lacking_ the (mis)feature of optionally 
forcing (by the admins) a specific desktop for the users?

I believe it is wrong to solve a pedagogical problem (teachers being 
scared of computers) by technical means (forcing teachers to deal with 
multiple desktops by always allowing their students to explore).

>> I am not a teacher. But even so I can see pedagogical reasons for 
>> offering this feature to the school staff.
>From a technical support standpoint sure, but pedagogical? Can you give 
>an example?

I already did. Sadly it seems you ignored it.

- -- 
Jonas Smedegaard   <jonas@jones.dk>   http://www.jones.dk/~jonas/
IT-guide dr. Jones    <dr@jones.dk>   http://dr.jones.dk/    +45 40843136
Debian GNU/Linux    <js@debian.org>   http://www.debian.org/
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