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

On Saturday 19 January 2008, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 18, 2008 at 08:35:27PM +0100, cobaco wrote:
> >On Friday 18 January 2008, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> >> On Fri, Jan 18, 2008 at 06:56:38PM +0100, cobaco wrote:
> >> >On Friday 18 January 2008, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> >> >> On Thu, Jan 17, 2008 at 06:34:29PM +0100, cobaco wrote:

> >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.

First is there a technical way to stop users starting either KDE or Gnome 
when both are installed? I'm not aware of a display manager offering that 
particular feature.

> 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

I'm asssuming the teacher is in control of their class, if not there's 
bigger problems then the desktop used:

If the teacher isn't in control kids are gonna waste time in any of the 
thousand ways they've done since schools were invented. 1 more way not to 
pay attention being available doesn't change that equation in any 
meaningfull way.

> >> >> 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!

No I have low expectations of computer-illiterate users (teacher or not)

> 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
> discussion.

I didn't intend to ignore you're example (thought I'd adressed that with the 
shouldn't be scary, but s/scary/exciting/g if that's more apt to the user 
in question) so let's try to adress it more clearly:

the only reason that getting an english class in the chem-lab was 
exotic/scary and thus distracting is cause you weren't used to it.
That would stop being a problem by the second or maybe third class in that 
room. (If it takes even that long, it's not like you could start doing 
chemistry experiments without the english teacher getting on your case)

> >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
> >decision.
> ...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?

The only means I'm aware of the admin forcing that choice is by only 
installing one desktop. (every display manager I'm aware of has a drop-down 
menu letting you choose)

And that's always available to the admin.

> 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'm assuming the teacher has some basic control of their class. If teacher 
can't enforce start 'specific desktop', (s)he can't enforce 'open book to 
page x either'.

-> in which case you've got waaaaay bigger problems then multiple desktops
   being available.
   'solving' the social problem of teacher not being in control of the class
   by the technical means of 'lock down the choice of destkop is not the

> >> 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.

the "it's distracting" ? 

1) doesn't apply beyond first 2 or so classes
2a) with computer literate users it shoudn't apply in the first place: 
   opening kalzium in gnome v opening kalzium in kde should not offer any
   challenge or distraction (given similar setup desktops). Ditto for any 
   other edu-software.
2b) with computer illiterate users you first teach them computer literacy
    before expecting them to routinely use a computer 

    leastwise any school I've ever been to taught students the basic of
    whatever tools they were expected to use (wether they be
    bunsen-burners in chem-class, calculaters in advanced math class, maps
    in geography, libraries and encyclopedia's in dutch class,
    microscopes and petri-disches in biology, ...)
Cheers, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis)

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