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Re: Another documentation question



Further to my last post, I think it is very important that those who use
computers on a regular basis be given the generic skills and conceptual
understanding which they need in order to read documentation and learn new
software packages or operating systems in a relatively independent
fashion. As a child in the mid 1980's I was given a book which explained
the basic structure of a computer system (CPU, memory, disks, input/output
devices, firmware, operating system, application software etc.). I also
learned programming in BASIC, 6502 assembly language for the Apple II, and
later Pascal. What is noteworthy however is that at secondary school, all
of the children in my class were exposed to programming concepts after
they had learned the basics of typing and word processing. I was already
well ahead of the class by that stage (learning Pascal programming) but my
central point is that every student was given at least some opportunity to
gain a basic understanding of the concepts, typically using the Logo
programming language. I don't know to what extent this early education
provided the foundation for the later development of their computing
skills. In my own case, even though I have not studied computing at
university, the background gained at secondary school enabled me to read
books, technical specifications and other documents much more easily and
to expand my knowledge separately.

I appreciate that this discussion is now well off topic and should
probably be taken to private e-mail if anybody wants to follow up on these
remarks. However, I think it is those who don't yet possess the needed
background who can benefit most from an Emacspeak HOWTO and that some
consideration could be given to finding out what concepts, terms and
skills they are most likely to need to learn quickly in order to take
advantage of what the system can offer. I also suspect that some people
cease to be interested in learning (not just computers but in other fields
as well) if their initial experiences aren't positive or if they don't
gain a proper understanding in the first place. This, too, can probably be
remedied by better learning later on.


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