Computer literacy better self-taught or schooled?

October 2, 2007

I heard a vice-president of IBM tell an audience of people assembled to redesign the process of teacher certification that in his opinion this country became computer-literate by self-teaching, not through any action of schools. He said 45 million people were comfortable with computers who had learned through dozens of non-systematic strategies, none of them very formal; if schools had pre-empted the right to teach computer use we would be in a horrible mess right now instead of leading the world in this literacy.

Probably most people working in IT learned most of what they know on their own.  Is it possible that creating fixed lessons could damage this enthusiasm?  I remember I was a huge technology geek, but found the Computer Studies standard grade so dull, I didn’t go on to do the Higher.  It was only later I returned to University to Study Computing and got very bored in the first year where compulsory classes explained what a mouse was.  The rest of the article is also very interesting, do we have the PhD because of a lost war?

The Public School Nightmare:
Why fix a system designed to destroy individual thought?
by John Taylor Gatto
Read the rest of this entry »

Journals: Open Access and RSS

July 4, 2007


Last month five leading European research institutions launched a petition that called on the European Commission to establish a new policy that would require all government-funded research to be made available to the public shortly after publication.

In response, the European Commission committed more than $100m (£51m) towards facilitating greater open access through support for open access journals and for the building of the infrastructure needed to house institutional repositories that can store the millions of academic articles written each year.

The European developments demonstrate the growing global demand for open access, a trend that is forcing researchers, publishers, universities, and funding agencies to reconsider their role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

That requirement – called an open access principle – would leverage widespread internet connectivity with low-cost electronic publication to create a freely available virtual scientific library available to the entire globe.

Given the connection between research and economic prosperity, the time has come for governments, their funding agencies, and the international research community to maximise the public’s investment in research by prioritising open access.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Push for open access to research

After reading these BBC article on Open Access Journals I am convinced that they all should be and as a consequence signed the petition.  I think if all Universities made all research available to everyone for free, we would take a large step toward the betterment of all mankind.  Also many of the fee paying journal sites are failing to grasp the nature of the internet.  Many times I’ve been frustrated with the prospect of a great article only to find I’d need to pay a fee.  Aside from anything else, I’m not sure how these fee paying journals will compete.  MIT’s open access program has shown that it can be beneficial to offer your information and work for free, and I hope all Universities will follow.

I’ve passed the link onto a few friends who are still at University.  Although they were not that interested when I first explained it to them, they came back to me later raving at how useful the open access journals were.  They found that although the University offered them free access to fee paying journals, they were not a source they could use from home where they did much of their research and studying.