[geeks] New Tech Schools: Digital Harbor in Baltimore
Jonathan C. Patschke
jp at celestrion.net
Thu Apr 12 21:38:19 CDT 2007
On Thu, 12 Apr 2007, Joshua Boyd wrote:
> I question the teaching of word processing at all. Just tell kids
> they have to type their papers, and they will be able to figure it
I respectfully disagree.
I've met very few people who use word processors daily who can use them
well. Take a good look at the next few Word documents you receive that
weren't produced by some big company's PR department. You'll see things
like ______ used instead of underline-tab for blanks in fill-in forms
(or, worse yet, lines drawn in "page layout" view that fall out of place
if you haven't precisely the right typefaces installed). You'll see
things indented with spaces instead of tabs and indents set properly.
You'll see bulleted lists set off with asterisks rather than the word
processor's list features. You'll see headers and footers done by
hand(!!). You'll see no use of styles or sections whatsoever, with
formatting applied inconsistently everyplace.
If people learn (or are taught) to use their tools -well-, they can
produce easily-managed useful output with even tools as mediocre as
Microsoft Word. Before I learned LaTeX, I did a couple of 100+ page
technical manuals in Microsoft Word (version 6 for NT) and did the
layout for my high school newspaper in it. In order to manage content
like that without going completely insane, you can't not know how to use
the tool to its potential.
If people are left to fend for themselves, most will just treat their
word processors like glass typewriters, which would be fine if they were
using typewriters. However, there's so much more potential to the tool
for making work flow much more quickly.
 In fact, it wasn't even Word that made me switch to LaTeX in
college, it was Micosoft #(*&$#@ing Equation Editor. Then I found
LaTeX and math mode, and life was -goooood-.
Jonathan Patschke ) "If we keep our pride, though paradise is lost, we
Elgin, TX ( will pay the price, but we cannot count the cost."
USA ) --Neil Peart, "Bravado"
More information about the geeks