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Followup To "When Teachers Are Obstacles To Linux" 626

Posted by kdawson
from the more-sides-to-the-story dept.
An couple of anonymous readers wrote in to let us know about a followup to last Wednesday's story of the teacher who didn't believe in free software. The Linux advocate who posted the original piece has cooled off and graciously apologized for going off half-cocked (even though the teacher had done the same), and provided a little more background which, while not excusing the teacher's ignorance, does make her actions somewhat more understandable. Ken Starks has talked with the teacher, who has received a crash education in technology over the last few days — Starks is installing Linux on her computer tomorrow. He retracts his insinuations about Microsoft money and the NEA. All in all he demonstrates what a little honest communication can do, a lesson that all of us who advocate for free software can take to heart. "The student did get his Linux disks back after the class. The lad was being disruptive, but that wasn't mentioned. Neither was the obvious fact that when she saw a gaggle of giggling 8th grade boys gathered around a laptop, the last thing she expected to see on that screen was a spinning cube. She didn't know what was on those disks he was handing out. It could have been porn, viral .exe's...any number of things for all she knew. When she heard that an adult had given him some of the disks to hand out, her spidey-senses started tingling. Coupled with the fact that she truly was ignorant of honest-to-goodness free software, and you have some fairly impressive conclusion-jumping. In a couple of ways, I am guilty of it too."
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Followup To "When Teachers Are Obstacles To Linux"

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  • by bruce_the_loon (856617) on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:43PM (#26093697) Homepage
    Don't rant first and ask questions later.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      There was a lot of unnecessary foaming at the mouth from both sides about this.

      Though the teacher grossly over-reacted, why don't some people understand that, especially at the lower grade levels, teachers have to teach to the standards? Sure, in a perfect world kids would have exposure to a variety of platforms in school but teachers have to see to it that their students stay on topic using the class materials, otherwise too many disctactions will arise and that'll make things harder for the teac
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        why don't some people understand that, especially at the lower grade levels, teachers have to teach to the standards? POSIX _is_ a standard! Now, why are they learning Windows? >_>
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LMacG (118321)

        In Henrico County, Virginia, the school system supplies laptops to all middle school and high school students. They used to be MacBooks, but I think they use Dell now.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:05PM (#26094007)

        When I was in high school things like cell phones, cameras, pagers, and especially laptops were considered contraband!

        Yeah, well, when I was in high school, things like cell phones, digital cameras, pagers, and laptops were considered science fiction. Now get off my yard!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jim_Maryland (718224)
        what the hell is a middle-schooler doing with a laptop at school

        Some "special needs" students are permitted to bring in laptops for use at school. My son is on a 504 education plan to help with his ADD and ambliopia. He qualifies to use a laptop or a typing device (Alpha Smart) but refuses to use either (for some reason using a laptop makes him stand out in a negative way but his blue hair was acceptable to him...still has me confused on that one).

        Oh, Howard County Maryland is the school system. I
        • by armanox (826486)
          I do know that Baltimore County allows laptops to the general students as long as they are not disruptive...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by shawb (16347)
            his blue hair was acceptable to him...still has me confused on that one

            He wants his personality to stand out, not what others will perceive as deficits. Besides, these days having your natural color of hair is more likely to make you stand out than blue would. A lot of people are honestly surprised when they learn that I don't have any tattoos... even to the point of asking "why not?"
      • by icebraining (1313345) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:09PM (#26094073) Homepage

        Here in Portugal (a small country near Spain) the government is giving cheap laptops to all children from 7 to 18 years, for them to use during classes and work at home. On the other hand we have one of the worst education levels of Europe. Yes, something is wrong here.

        • Posting to invalidate mod point. I blame the scroll wheel.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:26PM (#26094303)

          Here in Portugal (a small country near Spain)

          I love how you felt the need to clarify where Portugal is. I don't doubt that plenty of people reading that still said "huh, I wonder where that is?".

        • by khellendros1984 (792761) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:33PM (#26094389) Journal

          (a small country near Spain)

          OK, granted there are a lot of Americans on this site, and we sometimes have a reputation of being ignorant of geography and other countries, but I think most people have heard of Portugal. I mean, for goodness sake...the *pope* gave you guys half a continent...

          • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:29PM (#26095293) Homepage Journal

            (a small country near Spain)

            OK, granted there are a lot of Americans on this site, and we sometimes have a reputation of being ignorant of geography and other countries, but I think most people have heard of Portugal. I mean, for goodness sake...the *pope* gave you guys half a continent...

            From now on I will describe myself as being from Australia (a small country near New Zealand).

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rnelsonee (98732)

            To the OP's defense, I think it people sometimes can't tell how well-known their locale is to people outside their geographical area because they don't interact a lot with people from other areas (and when they do, the chances of their own city coming up in conversation may be low).

            For example, I grew up in Annapolis, and I expect that most Americans will know this is in Maryland, but only because it is the capitol. But non-Americans? I don't think they really know much about it, but why should they? Now

        • by ThreeE (786934) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:38PM (#26094471)

          ...like I need someone to tell me where a South American country is.

        • by LandDolphin (1202876) on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:31PM (#26095323)
          "Portugal (a small country near Spain)"

          This made me laugh. I would like to think that you would not need to say that, but then I remember that you probably do.

          And yeah, the education is pretty bad there. Just look at how poorly people in Portugal speak Spanish, it's almost as bad as Brazil!
          • by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Friday December 12, 2008 @05:40PM (#26096357)

            Well, when I lived in Madrid, my US roommates asked me why TV channels wouldn't bother including this "south-west region of Spain" in weather forecasts.

            They swore to god they never heard of Portugal...

            • by j_w_d (114171) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:20PM (#26097619)
              When I was in high school, back before there WERE cell phones or digital cameras, we were asked to identify our "ethnicity," whereever the "ethnicity" was a quarter or more of our ancestry - as part of the initial efforts at "affirmative action" I think. Anyway the choices were "White, Black, Native American, Iberian, and Other." Since my mother was half Portugese, I put down Iberian. I was called in by an examiner and asked to explain, and I cited my twenty-five percent Portugese descent. This lead to a confusing interchange where the fellow attempted to convince me that Portugal was not "Iberian" - since the Portugese didn't speak Spanish - while I pointed that you can't get any farther west on the Iberian penninsula without getting wet. Since then whenever asked about ethnicity, I check "Other" and write in "Lusitanian." It generates an occasional baffled look, but at least I'm not subjected to irrational geography lessons.
      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:25PM (#26094291) Homepage Journal

        Though the teacher grossly over-reacted, why don't some people understand that, especially at the lower grade levels, teachers have to teach to the standards?

        Windows != "standards". And, by the time a 7th grader enters the work force, Windows will be less like the XP he's using now than Mandriva is like XP.

        There are, of course, businesses that need some sort of proprietary, Windows-only software (e.g., Photoshop) but a spreadsheet is a spreadsheet, a word processer is a word processer. Each new version of Microsoft Word is less like the previous version or Word than that previous version was to Star Office.

        Microsoft software in schools is a pitiful, ignorant waste of my tax money.

        One shouldn't show up to a guitar class handing out trumpets to everybody and then expect the teacher to teach to both the guitar and the trumpet

        But your analogy is completely flawed. More accurate is the kid is showing up in a guitar class with a Fender and the teacher is complaining that everyone else has Gibsons.

        When I was in high school things like cell phones, cameras, pagers, and especially laptops were considered contraband!

        That was the case when my daughters were in high school (my oldest is 23), and I and others fought that policy tooth and nail.

        When I was in high school a computer needed a whole building, and it had less computing power than a Hallmark greeting card. But I'll get off your lawn anyway, Grandpa.

        • by shawn(at)fsu (447153) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:34PM (#26094397) Homepage

          Windows-only software (e.g., Photoshop)
          ahem... Photoshop is NOT windows only.

        • by Forrest Kyle (955623) on Friday December 12, 2008 @05:24PM (#26096073) Homepage
          "But your analogy is completely flawed. More accurate is the kid is showing up in a guitar class with a Fender and the teacher is complaining that everyone else has Gibsons."

          This is straight up terrible analogy. As a guitar player, I can play a Fender and then switch to a Gibson without having to learn anything or adjust my playing style in anyway.

          When I switched to Linux, I had to read a huge book and several hundred man pages along the way, and it was a big paradigm shift in how I managed a computer system.

          If we are determined to use musical instruments as an analogy, the best way to describe it would be switching from a finger-picking classical style, to a standard rock guitar style of playing. Same instrument, totally different paradigm of operation.

          Pretending that switching to Linux does not require a huge investment of time, interest, and effort is not going to help it penetrate the traditional desktop market. Not everyone who doesn't use Linux is ignorant; they're probably just too busy being productive.
      • Thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Auraiken (862386) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:42PM (#26094525)
        Sorry to hijack your thread, but I'd like to say that this is what I'd like to see more of on /. We have too many stories indicating that things are one way only to be found otherwise and not corrected on at all. There were a lot of people in other stories lately who've been saying how wrong mass media is in how they 'report' on stories that are just there to make money. IT also shows that the open source community needs to stop attacking the ignorant people... I mean they might be stupid and annoying sometimes but we aren't going to get anywhere unless we educate them. /rant
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thtrgremlin (1158085)
        Yeah, that is one thing I have at least really appreciated from Microsoft is standardization. Wait...

        I think I have heard exactly your argument as to why schools and government need to advocate for Linux, because open standards mean there is much less worry about compatibility, what software people have, and such. Loosely advocating or quietly necessitating Office 2007 for every student is absurd. I would much prefer "you can use the schools free and supported open standard, or get whatever product you lik
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by the_womble (580291)

        Though the teacher grossly over-reacted, why don't some people understand that, especially at the lower grade levels, teachers have to teach to the standards?

        No one expected her to teach Linux. The kids were learning it for themselves.

        Telling them that they should only learn what they are taught is the opposite of education.

        One shouldn't show up to a guitar class handing out trumpets to everybody and then expect the teacher to teach to both the guitar and the trumpet.

        Bad analogy. No one expected her to teach Linux.

        I would not expect a guitar teacher to try to prevent their pupils learning the trumpet in another class. I would not expect the guitar teacher to claim that trumpets were illegal and threaten to sue anyone who gave children trumpets.

    • by liquidpele (663430) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:05PM (#26094001) Journal
      Another conclusion can be to not believe an online blog like it's God's word. I've never actually seen a blog yet that was not one sided on the issues it cared about. This one especially screamed of flamebait, but I'm glad that they were able to open up communication channels and come to an understanding.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TrekkieGod (627867)

        Another conclusion can be to not believe an online blog like it's God's word. I've never actually seen a blog yet that was not one sided on the issues it cared about. This one especially screamed of flamebait, but I'm glad that they were able to open up communication channels and come to an understanding.

        Actually, when I read the teacher's original e-mail, my first thought was that Ken Starks had been trolled. It's not that I don't think people can be ignorant of free software, it's that I the teacher had said she "experimented with Linux in college" which made it sound like somebody got greedy with their trolling, but Starks bit anyway.

        His reaction was way over the top, but it's cool he calmed down and resumed discussion. Especially since it turned out to NOT be a troll, and that there was an actual teac

  • Apology (Score:5, Funny)

    by coppro (1143801) on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:46PM (#26093723)
    I would like to apologize to everyone involved for being so judgmental, even though I never actually commented on the topic or said anything to anyone. I think I jumped to conclusions too (although the "people are stupid" doctrine continues to perform well).
  • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:51PM (#26093809)
    Hey hey hey! What is this? First we get a nice knee-jerk sensationalist story about an M$ drone teacher doing her utmost to keep the kids enslaved to capitalist software, and now you're ruining it all with facts and sensible dialogue between the parties involved? Where would we be if all the major news outlets started following their scaremongering and outright deceitful articles up with corrections and balanced analysis? I mean, what's next, honest reporting without hidden agendas?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by madhurms (736552)
      Do you mean like, Fox News?
    • M$ $UX! BALLMER DOES!
      APPLE IS ROTTEN! STEVE KILLS JOBS!

      .

      .

      Ahem. Now then. Nice smaller type correction.

      Microsoft appears to be making progress towards Windows 7.
      Apple has clearly innovated in several consumer areas.

      I'm betting this becomes +1 ConfusedMods.

  • by cabjf (710106) on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:52PM (#26093819)
    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." If either side had done some research or better communicating before yelling on the internet, this would have been a non-issue.
    • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:16PM (#26094187) Homepage Journal

      If either side had done some research or better communicating before yelling on the internet, this would have been a non-issue.

      In fairness to Starks, if I'd been threatened with having the cops called on me for something perfectly innocuous, I might've responded as he did. In hindsight it wasn't that big of a deal, but her opening salvo was fired from an elephant gun.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:27PM (#26094321) Journal

      Not really. The teacher still acted out of ignorance and fear. She deserved a good brow beating. Maybe next time she'll recognize her ignorance, and listen to her students instead of jumping to conclusions. Nothing damages the relationship between teacher and student than this kind of arbitrary and capricious exercise of power. Now the kids know that 1) the teacher is an idiot and 2) the teacher values obedience over correctness. This kind of behavior is absolutely not conducive to a constructive learning environment, and I hope that she's ashamed of herself.

      • by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:54PM (#26094739) Homepage Journal

        At least she didn't threaten to set the FBI on him. [centos.org]

        Note: it seems Dopey [robsell.com] has moved on, [tuttle-ok.gov] but his replacement's qualifications don't look too impressive...

      • Um... no. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .171rorecros.> on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:57PM (#26094801) Homepage

        Now the kids know that 1) the teacher is an idiot and 2) the teacher values obedience over correctness.

        They now know that the teacher didn't know something in particular about computers and software. (I'm a geek, and I know there's plenty about how kids use computers today that I have no clue about, or only the most general notion.) It's not a surprise that she doesn't know everything - I'm pretty sure the kids were already aware that she's a human being. The question is, does she know about the topics she's teaching about and the techniques for successfully teaching them? Nothing presented so far hints that the answer is 'no'.

        And as for "2", that's quite a jump, considering even the blogger parent acknowledges the kid was being 'disruptive'. If Linux (or software in general) wasn't the topic under discussion, then temporarily taking away the discs and directing attention back to the class - which is what seems to have happened - isn't "valuing obedience over correctness".

        So, at most, the kids know the teacher has limited operating system knowledge, and she wants the kids to focus on the class. She did jump to conclusions based on the knowledge she had, but she addressed her message to the parent, and appears to be capable of learning when she finds out she's mistaken. That alone puts her above the 90th percentile among humans.

    • Belcerebons (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrWho520 (655973)
      ...yelling on the internet, this would have been a non-issue.

      You hit it square on the head and I think you do not even know it. There is a reason senators, parliamentarians, presidents and prime ministers have handlers, spokespeople and speech writers. When they say something, people listen. People listen for no other reason than they have a very large, very public soap box.

      Arguing on the internet is not longer just packets floating passing in the night because, people are now paying attention. F
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:53PM (#26093833)

    So this was less about Linux and more about a teenage boy being, well... a boy. Figures. It would have gone better for him if it had been some ecchi anime. First rule of high school is -- don't point out that the teacher knows less than you do. The second rule of course is, if you break the first rule do so in an epic way.

  • A good lesson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wcrowe (94389)

    This is the kind of misunderstanding that can happen when software advocacy becomes a kind of religion.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:54PM (#26093839) Homepage

    Teachers are incredibly undereducated when it comes to technology.

    Why the colleges that teach these teachers are choosing to NOT require classes in technology is beyond me.

    • by b4upoo (166390)

      I am more disturbed at the teacher's need to jump into action after assuming that there might be porn or some other banned materials on the disks.Is it not enough to go after kids for what they actually are known to be doing without digging deep at what they just might be doing? After all, anyone might be doing anything.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bigpaperbag (1105581)
        Obviously you're not a teacher who has to deal with parents/PTA/school boards who are jumping after the teachers about not jumping after the students about things that have NOTHING to do with teaching to begin with.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Thyamine (531612)
      You may as well say that you wonder why they aren't required to take classes in auto repair or biochemisty. They don't need it. Would it help in situations like this, sure, but I can assure you that my wife has never had one of her kindergartners ask about Linux. I think we all (and I do it myself) assume that technology should be more important to people, but I would guess that most professions feel that way.
  • by ergo98 (9391) on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:57PM (#26093885) Homepage Journal

    This guy is getting a tonne of publicity for this (and apparently he is well versed in the art of getting attention for his projects in this manner), based upon nothing verifiable.

    Maybe I'm just too internet shellshocked to believe anything any more, but it reeks of being a complete fabrication, in an era when Lying on the Internet is considered perfectly okay so long as you know to say "Ha ha! All a joke!" if caught, or perhaps the classic "This was just an example composite of various situations!".

    I could be entirely wrong, but it all seems like a terribly thin ruse to me, with a ridiculous, one dimensional strawman (or women in this case) put up and then viciously knocked down. On the resulting torrent of perhaps gullible internet vigilantes, a hastily written cool-down appeared to, perhaps, try to divert them before they uncover the fiction of this (if it is fiction. My bets are that it is, but that's an uninformed opinion).

    Then again, maybe I'm just too skeptical.

    • by ergo98 (9391) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:08PM (#26094061) Homepage Journal

      As one aside -- this story reminds me, somehow, of the guy who took donated computers and prepped them for needy kids or something, and some purported donor complained when he found out his donation was going to a "retard". My fiction senses are giving me the same vibrations.

      But I can't find that computer donation one. Anyone have a link to it if you remember?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You could call "Karen" fairly easily, there aren't that many Karens working for AISB who teach grade 8.

      BAILEY KAREN T-7/8 P.E. MARTIN MS 414-3243
      CASE KAREN T-7/8 THEATER MURCHISON MS 414-3254
      CIESLA KAREN T-7/8 MATH O HENRY MS 414-3229
      DONSBACH KAREN T-7/8 SCI- GEN' BAILEY MS 414-4990
      GREEN KAREN T-7/8 LIFE SCI MURCHISON MS 414-3254
      HARRIS KAREN T-7/8 LANG ARTS COVINGTON MS 841-3686
      SCHIPPER KAREN T-7/8 CHOIR KEALING MS 414-3214

      ..and I think you could saf

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:58PM (#26093899)
    From TFA:

    Karen and I have talked on the phone now for a couple of hours, here and there. We've come to understand each other more and had she said some of the things in her email that she said during our phone conversations...

    Ken and Karen sittin' in a tree. K. I. S. S. I. N. G. ...

  • A Happy ending (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:58PM (#26093901)

    Yes the teacher brought the storm on herself. Not by being ignorant of open source but by being rude. This is a good object lesson about email more than anything else.

    Helios was perfectly in the right to flame back, especially since he was pretty polite about it considering the pretty nasty slander the teacher was throwing at him. And even being ticked off he protected her identity so she won't have to suffer the consequences of her bad manners. Even better, after talking it over with her he appears to have turned the situation into a win. So high praise for him and since she seems to have learned something positive out of the mess lets give her a break now.

  • thanks, internet! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:00PM (#26093933) Homepage

    It was obvious to the intelligent person that this entire situation was made of fail from the get-go. Any time spent analyzing this will likely just make us all dumber. Quit giving it press.

  • Culture of Fear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:01PM (#26093949) Homepage

    When she heard that an adult had given him some of the disks to hand out, her spidey-senses started tingling.

    What a shame that the first thing some people do when told about adults interacting with children is to think of something perverse.

  • by Ogive17 (691899) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:02PM (#26093961)
    Using my Jump to Conclusions Mat it has been decided that I lose a turn.. hmmph
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:06PM (#26094029)

    You can find a million things online as reference materials, but it's difficult to talk to civilians about why FOSS is a good idea, and how it's put together. People kind of glaze over when you tell them the differences. Often, they don't care and are suspect of anything truly free.

    Centralized advocacy could certainly be helpful, as Linux is by its nature, evolutionary and rife with useful anarchy. Still, protagonists need to do some work to evolve the public image of Linux/GNU, FOSS, and why. Half-cocked replies are what turns people off, as they're insecure enough already about computing.

  • by Nate B. (2907) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:07PM (#26094037) Homepage Journal

    Ignorance is the most expensive commodity in the USA today. And we pay for that ignorance on a daily basis.

    Hopefully Ken has been able to push the frontiers of ignorance back just a little. Sometimes it requires a jolt to get that moment moving and I think that both Ken and Karen have learned a lot about jumping to conclusions. Here's hoping that Karen will now become an ally to Ken and his project.

  • Hmm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by XPeter (1429763)
    Well, I don't know about this place but in my High School we use Windows, Linux and Open-source and the combo works great. I'm taking classes in a program called T.E.A.M.S (Technology Enriched Academy for Mathematics and Science) and we do basically any thing tech-related (on a freshman level). As far as OS's go, for some things we use XP (AutoCad and Visual Basic) and for others we use OS X (Anything media related). IMO you can't have just Linux or Just Windows, the combination of the two works great!
  • by chaim79 (898507) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:08PM (#26094053) Homepage

    This guy is really showing some strength and intelligence, he has made a public apology, and is working with the teacher instead of continuing the rant. The teacher has gotten a serious shaking up from the OSS community (through the blog) and he is doing his best to make a win of this situation.

    This could have very easily degenerated into some serious verbal warfare, lawsuits, etc.

    While I was interested by the first blog post and kept watch for followup, this second post makes me want to really keep an eye on this guy, actions like this apology are usually a sign of someone that should be listened to.

  • nice to see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:09PM (#26094079) Homepage
    Well this blog posting was definitely a lot more admirable than the last one, and I'm glad he also apologized for the anti-union tirade. In regards to specific passages:

    The student did get his Linux disks back after the class. The lad was being disruptive, but that wasn't mentioned. Neither was the obvious fact that when she saw a gaggle of giggling 8th grade boys gathered around a laptop, the last thing she expected to see on that screen was a spinning cube.

    She didn't know what was on those disks he was handing out. It could have been porn, viral .exe's...any number of things for all she knew. When she heard that an adult had given him some of the disks to hand out, her spidey-senses started tingling. Coupled with the fact that she truly was ignorant of honest-to-goodness Free Software, and you have some fairly impressive conclusion-jumping.

    This is a good point, and I actually think a reasonable teacher may have reasonably been worried about what was going on. Even one who actually had a basic tech background.

    Karen isn't alone in her ignorance. I have sat in a PhD's office...a PhD that happened to be a principal of a school. She told me that according to her "tech staff", it was illegal to remove Microsoft Windows from their school computers. So who is ignorant here? The "tech staffer" afraid of losing his MCSE position or the Dr. of Education that didn't bother to check into such a statement. Ignorance isn't the sole possession of this particular school teacher.

    Actually it's quite plausible that tech staff isn't allowed to do this. Maybe the district has a contract with Microsoft, or the school regulations prohibit changing a standard district-wide setup.

    Now to the meat of the matter. Many, many of you have pushed for the identification of this teacher.

    How about you reveal the identification of THESE people? I have some things I want to say to them...

  • by zojas (530814) <kevin@astrophoenix.com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:12PM (#26094115) Homepage
    in the blog, he provides a list of some of the software that the school makes available. but what he actually says is "Other open source software on both images include audacity and lame, and other Free Software such as Google Earth, iTunes, Adobe and many plug-ins."

    Great, except for the part that Adobe, Google Earth, and most especially iTunes, are anything BUT Free Software. If he had said "free software" it would have been ok, but he deliberately went out of his way to capitalize it like the Free Software Foundation does. I'm pretty sure Adobe has produced absolutely no Free Software (Free as in Freedom, not free as in purchase price). and iTunes is certainly not Free; source is not available, and all the metadata for the iTunes library is locked in a proprietary, binary blob.

    it's just shocking that this big-time supposed Free Software advocate doesn't even know how to spell free software!

  • by fermion (181285) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:13PM (#26094127) Homepage Journal
    What is truly sad about this is the public perception that teachers and the teacher unions are disrupting eduction. As is clearly shown here, the disruptive comes from persons who beleive they are so smart that they are not forced to be a teacher, and therefore qualified to tell the teacher what to do.

    First, here is a fact. Teaching a job, just like those who sit in office doing nothing more than type code on keyboard. I mean, how hard can it be type random gibberish in a keyboard? Anyone can do it, !. So the teachers first goal is keep the class moving so objectives can be taught, assessed, rethought, and year end tests passed. Do teachers do this to maximize bonuses. Duh, are we idiots, of course. Why are the automakers begging for money right now, to kep 8 figure salaries. Why do we code for any semi-legitimate business, to make the money.

    Second, the tools teachers use are the tools teachers use. How many geeks know how to use every OS, every IDE. How many developers know how to write software without an IDE, or can code direct in assembly. Does that make the developers idiots. I might say so, but not really as I have a inch of compassion and am not an arrogant bastard. No one is going to go into an office, give the staff new software to use, and expect management not to react. See point one. Teacher are there to teach content, not be experts at things not even experts agree on. Many serious consider Free OS invalid. In is an opinion. Considering it otherwise refers back to the arrogant bastard.

    Third, a classroom is necessarily a controlled environment. While it would be nice to allow kids to do whatever they want, it is not feasible. In most schools, computers are not set up as a redundant array of disposable devices, and if a computer is broken, that generally means several students are denied an education for at least a little while. While teaching *nix is a lofty goal, i wonder if the organization would be there to fix the machines before the next class came in, or if they would just say, hey it is not my problem, and i don't care if some kids loses an education.

    This is a classic example of why people hate *nix. Here is a guy who is trying to help the cause, but instead has shown how clueless the cause is. Unlike Dell Foundation, who provides money to teachers to help thing, this guy just seems to attack teachers with no understanding of the context. Even now, there is no acknowledgment of the damage that has been done to the students.

    Help students by becoming teachers or mentors, not by attacking them. After all, teachers don't go into your lame ass web development operation and tell you to use real tools.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      What is truly sad about this is the public perception that teachers and the teacher unions are disrupting eduction. As is clearly shown here, the disruptive comes from persons who beleive they are so smart that they are not forced to be a teacher, and therefore qualified to tell the teacher what to do.
      Did you even graduate from high school? Many instructors are completely incompetent and are just plain silly. I've had good instructors, too. But I had enough bad ones to lose faith in teachers in general.

      F

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:16PM (#26094175) Homepage Journal
    now, where is my torch ? and all of you, get your pitchforks, fast
  • Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HalAtWork (926717) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:16PM (#26094189)
    We all make mistakes, but hardly ever do we take the time to report that and also report how we can understand and improve the situation. There's nothing wrong with making mistakes or trying to make things better, and it's nice to hear about it now and then, plus we can all learn a few things.
  • by Spazmania (174582) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:17PM (#26094201) Homepage

    Yeah, back when I was in school, I made a pencil drawing of a wico joystick [dabbledoo.com]. The teacher saw and thought it was something else...

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:17PM (#26094211)

    Ken makes a big deal about not wanting to name the teacher.
    But each successive blog post gives away more identifiable details.
    With just the information he has posted, plus the AISD's own website, it is now possible to narrow her identity down to one of 2 people.

    I'm sure that's not news to anyone already determined to figure out her identity, but it ought to be a warning to anyone else trying to both talk about a person and keep their identity secret on the web. It is just a real-life puzzle of connect the dots where seemingly tangential information can be enough to put the entire picture together.

  • by rs232 (849320) on Friday December 12, 2008 @03:44PM (#26094563)
    Did anyone bother to verify that there really is a Karen?
  • by jdavidb (449077) on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:23PM (#26095209) Homepage Journal

    Regardless of how anonymous morons on the Internet acted (and anyone who doesn't realize the Internet is full of anonymous morons probably needs to come into this century), this teacher needs to be disabused of the notion that everything is "illegal" unless specifically allowed somehow by the law. So what if she's not sure something's legal? That's not the question. Unless she's sure it's illegal, she should assume it is legal.

    She was way, way out of line in accusing the man of doing something illegal.

    I want my kids educated with a belief in liberty, and that is why they will not be educated in today's government schools.

  • by cheros (223479) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @12:47AM (#26100141)

    .. most people act on what information is available to them at the time. This is a combination of what they know, what they assume and what they fear and experience. Your problem is, you are unlikely to know the extend of either of those things.

    The best thing is to query the exact events that you disagree with and ask for motivation, ESPECIALLY if it's second hand like a news report or interview - I've been exposed to the glaring deficiencies in both.. IMHO, you should start from the assumption that the person's actions made sense to them in their personal context, and at that specific time. That doesn't imply an immediate judgement of "right" or "wrong" (and things are never quite that binary anyway) - your question(s) illustrate that your opinion differs and you would like to discuss this.

    Only when you have a dialogue and context can you assess if you're dealing with an issue - or that you misunderstood the issue. Oh, and in case you missed it, people have feelings too. The aim is generally to get on with each other as it's so much more constructive..

    That is, of course, wholly my opinion, carefully shaped out of the debris of too many fast conclusions. QED, I'd say :-).

When speculation has done its worst, two plus two still equals four. -- S. Johnson

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