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Subject: Re: there's a word for this
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K Redburn wrote:
> My son is 12, and I wonder, what can I do for him so that he will have
> this kind of experience in his life?  He's much like me, not atheletic,
> geeky, picked on by other kids (yes, I am still picked on by other
> kids!) smarter than me, and a loner, prone to crying.  But computers are
> no longer magical. His playstation is just another form of
> entertainment, as are my pc and Mac systems. Soon too, computers will
> become invisible. Discreet systems will go the way of the monolithic
> systems until the Internet is the computer.  What then?

I suppose this is a rhetorical question, but it is a subject
I'm interested in (my kids are 6, 3, and 10 mo old). You
want your kids to (1) have a group of friends, (2) aquire useful
skills and moral qualities. These may or may not be conflicting
goals. For example, playing baseball and owning lots of toy guns and
Batman action figures don't contribute much to (2) but are
important for socialization. That's why we decided toy guns,etc
are a neccessary evil. (Soccer develops a much more useful
range of skills than baseball IMO.)

A computer club (or other skill-oriented club) presumably targets
(1) and (2), and nowadays this is a much less geeky thing
than when we were growing up. I don't think computers are less
magical now, but expectations are much higher. Being able to
sort a directory listing or force characters onto another screen
is kind of boring. But with higher-level tools (eg HyperCard
or VB or Web-authoring software) you can still create magic.

The internet opens up so many new types of projects kids can
be involved with. (We were recently discussing this at a
parent-teacher meeting.) Like kids can set up a web-based
radio station, interactive newspaper, chat area, etc. In a
couple of years when eveyone has high-bandwidth access, 
we'll all be videoconferencing with friends around the world,
instead of the kind of geeky anonymous keyboard/avatar chat

Oops what was I saying about this mailing list being too 
Ralph Gonzalez