Retiree Forum Anyone?

Points of views and questions about the OLPC project. What should it be? How could it be better? Where is it needed most? Ask your questions here and let your opinion be known.

Retiree Forum Anyone?

Postby peter » Sat Dec 29, 2007 1:13 pm

I've noticed a large portion of our members seem to be retirees. Do you think we should create a forum for this great group?

What should we call it for the forum to be welcoming?
Simiya - For Lovers of Caribbean Art
peter
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:56 pm

Retired from what?

Postby robby » Sun Dec 30, 2007 10:24 pm

Maybe there are olpc alumni of Walter Bender's old "Silver Stringers" crowd at MIT? http://stringers.media.mit.edu

You could call it "former wage earners" or "no longer gainfully employed" and be more inclusive than "retired."

Or you could call the group "Progressive focus" -- and attract both people squinting at the little screen through trifocals and technophile liberals peeking at OLPC through rose-colored glasses...

Or you could call it "still geeks after all these years" and make it more of an over-50 social forum... :cool:

Better yet... how about forum sections based on areas of knowledge and life experience? Older, wiser, storytellers, shanachies could go wherever they'd do the most good. Actually, one for support of using the computer for visually or dexterity-challenged individuals might be helpful, whether the users are retirement-age folks or children. Maybe such things already exist...

I'm an almost-retirement-age college faculty member professionally interested in communication, media, technology, history, writing, photography and journalism... non-professionally interested in music and growing old gracefully. I'm not sure where the XO fits into all of that, but I'm open to suggestions...

As for a specialized forum, I'm a bit confused by all the forums, lists and wikis and have been nibbling around... Maybe I should retire...

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Robby
[url="http://olpc.osuosl.org/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=95&sid=cd5a2df5c328b3eea80f3408c2f455c9"]http://olpc.osuosl.org/forum/[/url]
http://olpcnews.com/forum/index.php
http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/community-support
robby
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:33 pm
Location: southwestern Virginia, USA

Postby peter » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:01 am

I laughed to myself when I read "still geeks after all these years". That's a good name to consider adding to olpchelp. Probably a "physical challenges" sub-forum too? What about a faculty sub-forum?

"Progressive focus" was funny too.
Simiya - For Lovers of Caribbean Art
peter
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:56 pm

Still a kid after all these years...

Postby jdebay » Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:41 pm

I laughed to myself when I read "still geeks after all these years". Then I thought to myself "still a kid after all these years". We never retire, just change focus on living. As I sit here and look out the window at the very light snow falling. I clean the snow off the cars and clean the snow off the walk way. Now the sun is out and the snow has stopped.

j
jdebay
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:50 am
Location: Holliston, MA USA

still a kid

Postby robby » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:11 pm

How about just "still a kid..."? or "still learning..."?

In fact, that was the feeling I got from my first computer -- a sense of wonder, of fun, of so much to learn and share...

That was almost 30 years ago. :D

(I joke and tell my students that the first computer I used was made out of wood. That was even earlier, when my Dad gave me his slide rule.)

I noticed a Facebook discussion a while ago named "old school internet" or something like that... Hmm. "Old scholars..." another name that might fit.
robby
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:33 pm
Location: southwestern Virginia, USA

Postby peter » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:51 pm

OK. I'm going to give it a try with "I'm still a kid". I'll move this thread there and see if anyone else jumps in.

A hobby sub-forum maybe? I'm into cycling now and it would be good to chat with other OLPC fans who share the interest.
Simiya - For Lovers of Caribbean Art
peter
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:56 pm

Remembering...

Postby jdebay » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:53 pm

My first computer was made of wood and wires. I won 3rd place in Science Fair at my junior high school, Denver, Colorado. Then got to go to City of Denver Science Fair.

Then two years later, learn to program in a program after school on my first main frame computer B5500. The language was Algol.

Then in 1966 started learning IBM 1401 and 1620 machine languages.

And the story continues... J
jdebay
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:50 am
Location: Holliston, MA USA

Postby peter » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:59 pm

I missed the slide rule by a year. My grade in high school was the first one to use hand held calculators. The first brand new programmable calculator I ever saw was made by Sinclair, and that was a few years earlier.

Around the same time in high school I got one of the first batches of PC-XT clones and have been using them ever since.
Simiya - For Lovers of Caribbean Art
peter
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:56 pm

Postby Sugar Tramp » Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:34 pm

Well. I made it out of undergrad before calculators were affordable. I can take square roots by hand (it's awful). In grad school we had a $20,000 porgrammable that would hold 40 steps and do square roots. It was fabulous until someone stole it. After a career in sugar, my industry just went away and now I am an itinerant tutor for math and hard science for the local high school kids. Actually a better quality life and I am really interested in watching how a project like this one can actually make teachers more effective. So much software does not help kids. The kids I work with generally do not get useful help from the school staff and they respond fairly well to close one on one assistance.
Sugar Tramp
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:06 pm
Location: Lodi, California

Great to see other of my age interested

Postby intrader » Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:09 pm

i got my XO yesteday and I am eager to help the effort. I am still employed, and I have been programming for 45 years. i would like to see others XOs connected to other hotspots.:p
intrader
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:45 pm

Postby tpike » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:17 pm

I stumbled in here mostly because I didn't know what the forum was about.
Not sure the title will pull in those of use who are "heavily experienced"
A few suggestions if you need them.

"Almost way too old for this"
"Overqualified newbies"
"Formally known as middle aged"
"Grey hair on green plastic"
tpike
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:31 pm

Postby Sugar Tramp » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:40 pm

Personally, I prefer "Gentleman at large"

Sugar Tramp
Sugar Tramp
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:06 pm
Location: Lodi, California

Postby tpike » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:07 pm

That is good. or "Way better off in a home". So far this is a pretty dull thread.
tpike
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:31 pm

Old enough

Postby intrader » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:13 pm

I am a programmer by profession and still working at it doing C#, Ajax, Mono, Python, Lua, Erlang, and others on Windows, Linux, the OLPC, the Mac, etc.
I just enjoy doing this still, although my current assignment at work seems like they are marginalizing me. But no matter, I still learn something new.
I am enjoying the OLPC, but have on occasion been on the verge of not using it anymore because of the mouse problem (and yes, I use the four finger salute, and it does sometime help, but not always)
intrader
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:45 pm

Postby Sugar Tramp » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:03 pm

Let me try something else and see if anyone really cares. I had a career in sugar for about 25 years and as the industry withered, I transitioned to private tutoring. I train mostly high school kids one on one for six to seven hours a day in math from pre-algebra through calculus, statistics, chemistry and physics. (I have a masters in chemical engineering from MIT. No interest what-so-ever in becoming a classroom teacher) I have been doing this for about 18 years now and it is a decent living.

My question is how to employ computers effectively in teaching. A lot of what I see looks like creating programs that practice skills and weave entertainment into the program so the kids will do it long enough to solidify the skill. I am not very comfortable that this is what we really want although it is a good first step. Teachers are expensive. When we had expensive labor in production lines, robots were developed that did the job of the worker and eventually cut labor costs. Office staff was replaced to a large degree by software suites. Telephone operators by answering systems. It seems unavoidable that computers must be employed to replace teachers. After all, the state budget here in California is something like 50% for education and we do poorly. If there is a target worthy of taking on, it would be to employ computers to do what good teachers do, not to make practice entertaining but to make a good education affordable.

When I work one on one with a student, it is rather common for his or her grade to improve by two letters. I don't have statistics since it is not important to me to do that. Of course, a few don't get better and some go from F to A. The extremes are uncommon. The worrying thing to me is that kids come to me, pay quite a bit of money, and repeatedly show they have capacity to learn that the schools cannot or will not develop. There is no computer program that helps any of them that I know of. If there was, I would use it. They do respond to an experienced trained professional. Remember, I have absolutely no training as a professional teacher. No theory, no experience, just me as an experienced engineer and a self taught tutor. I was vice president of operations of two companies that are now gone. The only qualification I have as a teacher is that I hold a very old flight instructors certificate from my youth. My wife is a credentialed teacher but at the elementary school level and does not work in my area.

Reading what comes through the internet, I read of an experimental weight loss program that formed some sort of personal relationship with the experimental group under study. It was pointed out that those who grew up with the internet see the virtual world as real and form relationships whereas us old guys see it more as a construct and relationships on the internet with computers seem like the old "imaginary friend" of children. It would appear that people and computers can form emotional bonds that work and those kinds bonds might be the difference between what I experienced as a private tutor with my kids and what I see in the educational programs and games.

So I would wonder, can the xo computer provide this kind of experience? It is intended to link to a server that can have massive programs. Much more than the laptop can handle. Can the program interact with individual students in a way that builds trust? When I work with a student, I watch every step taken, do almost every calculation in my head, consider the alternatives available as the student works through a solution and, among the things I watch for are delays that give clues about what a student does not understand. I also watch for errors when they happen and they give me chances to correct a mistake and explain how to properly execute a solution. There is also the information I get from a student's face and voice. They tell me subtle clues about confidence, uncertainty, etc that help choose the correct manner of teaching. These things work for me and are largely missing in the classroom since there is a large and commonly unruly population. Can they be gathered from monitoring a child's input on the keyboard? Does some other input device than a keyboard make more sense as it can watch reaction time more accurately? Can the camera learn a student's face and identify emotional clues?

So, are there any programs that do this sort of thing? Something that does not wait for you to press return but watches your every move for clues on how to help. I would love to read about them if they can be linked to. I believe computers in education are not even beginning the job they will eventually do. Who is developing that kind of interactive real time software? How can I learn about it?


Sugar Tramp
Gentleman at large
Sugar Tramp
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:06 pm
Location: Lodi, California

Next

Return to Open Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest