...now on my laptop...

Friday, 2003-3-7

Offline Webreading, Nerds, and unpopularity

I use a word I made up 7 or 8 years ago, "nitam", to mean any email message, USENET article, or weblog entry (etymology: net-item, or acronym for "News ITem, Article, or Message"; pronunciation: like "night-um").

In my web wanderings or USENET or email reading, whenever I come across a long nitam that I don't have time to read right now, but I know I want to read at some point, I will append it to a file. (Usually via copy/paste into a word-processing document.) Once the file gets big enough (40 to 60 pages -- roughly once every two or three weeks), I then print it. I read the stuff offline, later.

So I end up a few weeks behind everyone else. So I just finished reading Paul Graham's insightful paper about Nerds in east-coast USAmerican junior- and high-schools. Had a few non-publishable comments, but found it to be interesting despite perhaps drawing a more universal conclusion from his own experience than I feel is warranted.

My comment, in outline form: The verb "educate" and the phrase "educational system" are misleading terms. One of the problems with these schools appears to be the idea that students get, that the purpose of school is to "Educate me". This phrase in particular is an oxymoron. No one can possibly Educate You. You can learn. The way it's supposed to work is that teachers are there as resources to help YOU LEARN. Learning is an active thing to do, it is not a passive thing that can be done to you.

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