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Re: [olpc-software] age target?



Hi Alan --

My opinion is that for children these are "the same", in that it makes real sense to have children learn technology, engineering, math and science as aspects of a cause and effect way to perceive and deal with the universe.

I also think that there are some nice tie ins with the developmental history of these areas. Many aspects of 19th century (and early 20th century) engineering (and the science and math that go along with them) are quite accessable and doable by children. I grew up on a farm in the 1940s and got very familiar with the simple technology and how to fix it, but also learned electronics from books like "The Electrical Experimenter" that were written in the 20s and 30s. These books expected that children around 11 years old on would be able to make quite a variety of electrical and electronic devices. Also, model airplanes in those days were really models, in the sense that they used the same stringer and template and dope-stretched fabric technology of many actual planes.

There is a limit to which this can be pushed, but there's no question in my mind that many 3rd world countries could be tremendously aided by learning how to do preWWII technology, agriculture, and sanitation, most of which is pretty low tech. (Biologists know that sanitation is a much stronger disease deterrent than drugs with regard to almost all diseases.)

And, all this certainly ties in with constructivist ideas of learning by doing. The trick is to make the more ad hoc cook-bookery of technology and engineering tie strongly into science and math. We can tell this is a problem by simply noting that it is really difficult to find "science and math" in a science museum, what is displayed is usually forms of technology and engineering.

Cheers,

Alan

At 09:46 AM 3/21/2006, Alan Cox wrote:
On Tue, Mar 21, 2006 at 08:05:27AM -0800, Alan Kay wrote:
> built-ins" (such as communication, stories, games, etc,) but the use for
> learning "non-natural knowledge" (like science, mathematics, etc.) will
> languish. We've seen this pattern very strongly in the use of the web in

Where does the category of practical science (ie doing things/making things
work) fit into this model. I get the impression these are very strong
knowledgebases once you step outside of the western "have a man in China make
me a ..." and "its gone funny, buy a new one"  mentality.

Alan



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