Alan Kay and Gargner Campbell

by Brandy S. ~ January 26th, 2010. Filed under: Alan Kay, Gardner Campbell, Student Posts, Uncategorized.

“A computer is an instrument whos music is ideas.”-Alan Kay

Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg’s creation of the Dynabook was a great stepping stone towards the advanced technology we have today. In Kay’s paper, Personal Dynamic Medium it says that the Dynabook is relative easy and that a child could use its simulations and design them with different effects and fonts. And to prove that Kay and the rest were right they allowed school children to test the Dynabook. The children adapted quickly and one of them took it to the next level. She created her own drawing tool for the Dynabook. So when Kay says, “Dynabook as a personal medium is flexible to the point of allowing an owner to choose his own ways to view information,” I agree. How else would this middle school child do what she did.

Gardner Campbell’s talk to our class was interesting to me, because I never though of our computers and other devices as anything other than stuff. But he really stressed the point that until we all stop thinking the common and dangerous misconception, we will eventually run into trouble. Campbell used Kay’s quotes, ” A computer is an instrument whose music is ideas.” Now because I think of my computer as stuff, I would never have thought of it as an instrument. But now that I have a chance to think on the matter, its true.

I use to play the saxophone in high school, and I sucked at the beginning. But over time I would pick up new notes and was able to hold those notes for much longer. Getting from one key to the other in a fast song was kind of difficult but I came up with short cuts or tweaks. And with that beginning said, isn’t a computer like an instrument? At first you have no idea of how to use it and over time you can develop tweaks and have a better overall understanding of how to use it.

I also agree with Campbell for saying NO to the “digital facelift.-Clay Shirkey” It does deny people the chance to get into a new medium of not fearing the unfamiliar. Its like a real facelift, what are you doing besides just trying to trick yourself into believing your as young as 21 when really your 60. Your not giving yourself a chance to experience the rest of your life properly.

The misconception of computers as stuff and the fear of the unfamiliar can be stopped or at least helped if people are willing to educate others about this. It seems to me that teachers may not want to go explore new creations because their set in their ways, and students are afraid. But simple education about the wonders of what you could be doing is far greater than any fear. Campbell reflected on a what Brain Authur said in, “The nature of technology, ” and he said that its a “Means to serve a human purpose.” So if that’s right then why do we seem unwilling to educate on the matter?

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