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Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Towards an OHS Manifesto

At 11:22 AM 12/26/2001 -0800, you wrote:
>>Now, to the *primary use case*, Education.
>Jack, I understand that Education -- or at least a certain subtype of it 
>-- could be a compelling area of use for a system of that nature. You also 
>seem to be convinced that it is the most compelling market segment of all 
>candidates for market segments, but you don't expand on that in your post.
>Assuming that the technology follows from the requirements, and the 
>requirements follow from the situation of a potential user, I think it 
>would help -- at least help me -- to understand better what other segments 
>you looked at and why they were less compelling than education.
>Johannes Ernst
>R-Objects Inc.    (01)

Hi Johannes,    (02)

In every sense of the world, there is a strong correlation between what I 
have said and the Personal Knowledge Management software your firm 
http://www.r-objects.com/ offers.  Indeed, that is the primary thrust of 
KnownSpace.  In fact, I have been thinking that a "PKM" might be the very 
next Killer Application.  My point of view, however, is that a PKM used in 
learning environments tends to "personalize" the learner's own space, 
enabling, perhaps, a stronger sense of "ownership" of the knowledge thus 
acquired and constructed.  Let me elaborate.    (03)

Consider this passage from the Technos interview:
"Q: You work with young people as a professor in a university. What sorts 
of attitudes and opinions are you hearing from them? Do they understand 
what you're trying to say? And do they have an appreciation for the human 
aspects of the work and the effect it will have on human existence?    (04)

A: Not so much. The older graduate students are almost already set in their 
ways and don't quite accept some of these ideas. Even a 22-year-old senior 
in college is too old to accept such change. That is because computing has 
evolved so rapidly in a very few years. The Web is a very recent 
phenomenon. A generation, technologically speaking, is no longer 20 years 
or so; it's a mere three or four years. I have one young man in my class, a 
freshman, 19 years old, who is much more technologically open and able to 
understand the nuances and is interested in the societal effects, more so 
than the older graduate students. The younger students have been exposed to 
so much more in terms of computers and have no fear of trying new things 
and developing new machines."    (05)

The part of the response regarding people "already set in their ways" 
reflects experience I have with working with teachers brought into a new 
kind of school (constructivist) being somewhat ossified and not able to 
change their ways.  Same problem with older students who make the same move.    (06)

In some sense, it reflects Rod Welch's experience in trying to sell his SDS 
technology. Forgive me: us old farts are going to have a heckuva time 
accepting new technology.  My view is this: start with the kids.    (07)

I should point out that Doug Engelbart is very interested in improving the 
software industry and I think that to be a great use case pool as well.  I, 
however, as a software developer myself, am already struggling with a new 
approach of my own invention: OntoCentric(tm), which wants to build 
everything starting from a central ontology.  Even though I am trying to 
invent a new technology, it's not easy to use it for I have far too much 
baggage dragging me into old habits.    (08)

In the end, full disclosure implies that I must confess that, since my kids 
are attending a new, constructivist school that was invented by John 
Skeffington and John Pimentel in an image greatly to my liking, I think it 
extremely important to throw as much of my own weight at that project as I 
can.  So, I am naturally attracted to that use case, perhaps more so than 
is appropriate to this forum.  OTOH, for the reasons stated above, I still 
maintain my belief that education -- that is, environments that stimulate 
the growth of world-class critical thinkers -- to be of the highest value 
to humanity in the near term.    (09)

Thanks for asking.
Jack    (010)