[Tugindia] LaTeX in schools
Kapil Hari Paranjape
kapil at imsc.res.in
Mon Apr 7 16:05:42 CEST 2003
Here is my 2 paise worth on this discussion.
1. What is deemed "user-friendly" or "easy-to-learn" in today's
computer world is more determined by the phobias of adults than
by what children are capable of learning.
2. Nothing can be taught by teachers who are themselves unable to
approach the material with enthusiasm.
3. Just as it is fun to write simple programs and see the end
results, so also school kids will enjoy being able to "teach"
the computer using "TeX" (remember that "teach" and "TeX" are
pronounced rather similarly!) what they want it to do instead
of doing all the work themselves with a so-called "word processor".
4. In this respect, the "graphical" mode of "Emacs21+auctex+preview"
or "LyX" may satisfy the legendary impatience of children. However,
it is important to emphasise the challenge and satisfaction of being
able to "state" precisely what one wants to limit the "preview"
crutch as one gains in TeXpertise.
5. The real hurdle to all this is of course the point that education
is for many in India a means of obtaining certification towards
a job. In this direction, TeX or programming can only be seen
as a secondary subject which trains one to think correctly. TeX
certifications by themselves are unlikely to lead to many jobs
(though there *are* more today than even a couple of years ago).
Compare that with M$oft certifications which most would seek.
Hence a two-pronged solution may work:
A. Give courses on such things in local schools and colleges whenever
B. Generate notes which can be easily accessed for self-study *and* used
by enthusiastic teachers.
Needless to say such activity can only be pursued with energy by those
who never step off the learning curve themselves.
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