Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why No Cookies in Math Class?

I suppose that's a catchy enough title. Kids don't want to always re-enter the same passwords on a personal computer, a tedious exercise if you're not worried about spying on yourself.

But a browser typically comes with privacy controls, meaning cookies get blocked by default, meaning it's unlikely you'll be rescued from tedium, unless you know how to tell your browser from which domains cookies'll be OK.

It's up to you, the user, to set these policies.

So we throw kids into this virtual "oval office," surrounded with nifty freedoms, and then don't give 'em a clue. You get to be President Klutzo, some superhero Incredible who can't figure out how to work the netmeeting phone, drive the golf cart or whatever. What a wasted opportunity.

So you'd think math teachers, being the numeracy gurus in our culture, for little kids anyway, our having banned real geeks from actually teaching anything so elementary, except maybe on some exotic satellite channels you may be lucky enough to be getting, would be the ones to share this lore -- about how to allow cookies from Google, for example, but not from some fly by night with only a number, not even a DNS sig.

OK, well maybe the language arts teachers then? Actually that sounds about right, as XML and the DOM signify tree structures, like those old Outlines we used to do, with Roman Numeral major sections, like chapters, broken down into maybe a, b, c each with subsections i, ii, iii and so on, however the notation (this was all before those graphical "bullets" became available). Given language teachers already need to cover XML, why not let 'em handle the cookies part too?