Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Doc Searls has spilled our beans. Using Thomas Friedman's new book "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century", and essays by John Taylor Gatto, Doc makes the connection between open source and home schooling.
Stop and think for a second here. How much of the world's best open-source code is being created by people who were trained to write that code in school? How much of it is the product of mentoring and self-education instead? How much of the intelligence behind it is as different as fingerprints?
What if the old industrial schooling system is as threatened by open source as the old proprietary software system?
If I had fallen in line with my teachers in school, I might have never learned to program a computer. When I was in 7th grade, our junior high school got computers. Problem was the computers was an 8th grade activity. So I begged one of the math teachers to let me come after school and learn. I think he figured that I would get bored after a few days. Instead, I turned up every day after school for the rest of the year, copies of Byte and Creative Computing in hand. I never had a formal course in computing until I got to college.
Writing about Friedman's book (in Part 1 of his essay):
He also credits open source with a contagious value system:
The striking thing about the intellectual commons form of open-sourcing is how quickly it has morphed into other spheres and spawned other self-organizing communities, which are flattening hierarchies in their areas. I see this most vividly in the news profession, where bloggers, one person online commentators... have created a kind of open-source newsroom.
This value system is the value system of open source, of blogging, of home schooling, and other trends towards decentralization. And the value system of the traditional/industrial school system (not just public -- many private schools have the same philosophical orientation) are the reason that we prefer to homeschool.
I say all this because it's clear to me--and probably to Tom Friedman, too--that the flat new world isn't big on fitting. Here we reward differences. We value uniqueness, creativity, innovation, initiative, resourcefulness. Every patch to the software in the server that brings you this essay was created by somebody different, with something different to contribute. Yes, a meritocracy is involved. But I can assure you it has nothing to do with grades or IQ tests. It has to do with quality of code and with the virtues that produce it, only some of which are fostered in school.
The flat world is different. The flat world really does reward individuality, creativity, freedom, initiative. Tom says that too, but he also seems to think school can solve the problem when, in fact, school may be a big part of the problem. And not only in the US. Other countries may have better educational systems than we have in the US, but those countries also produce plenty of intellects whose self-education is far more helpful than whatever they obtain from school. And the ability to self-educate is essential in the flat new world
I want my girls to be ready to thrive in the flat new world.
Posted by Trackback from franKnarf's bloGolb at Wed May 4 01:42:50 2005
Posted by Trackback from Julie Leung: Seedlings & Sprouts at Wed May 4 08:02:46 2005
My best friend (and his wife) home-school their kids. Two bright children, though I really haven't evaluated their education, who I'm certain will do well (hard to tell, one has just entered teenage-dom and the other is seven).
Sideline: I get tired of the "TV is bad" pronouncements. Sure, most of it is crap, but my 9-year old has taught his teachers (and me) a few facts he's gleaned from PBS and TLC shows.
Posted by Lance Lavandowska at Wed May 4 13:36:48 2005
Posted by sunshine at Wed May 4 16:56:51 2005
Great post! I'm right in line with ya. I started coding, don't laugh, 26 years ago. Mostly cobol, cics stuff on mainframe systems. Fun at the time, but the stuff today, php, mysql, jscript, etc. is a blast to work with. I have a great time developing thingymajigs's with guys that don't even speak the same language. It is crazy how we connect and things morph and branch out. The dedication and inspiration from developers I've never met - is incredible.
Posted by Jim wilde at Thu May 5 11:26:47 2005
Posted by Rick Barnich at Thu May 5 11:41:08 2005
Thanks for the link and your comments.
I totally enjoy reading about your home schooling experiences with the girls. You make me wish I could hold a DaddyCon myself someday and teach my future children Logo. :-)
Posted by PJ Cabrera at Mon May 9 10:26:11 2005
To insert a URI, just type it -- no need to write an anchor tag.
Allowable html tags are:
You can also use some Wiki style:
URI => [uri title]
<em> => _emphasized text_
<b> => *bold text*
Ordered list => consecutive lines starting spaces and an asterisk