Apr 2021 – The Early Days of Learning a Language
I’m not saying we are old, but do you realize that some alumni were in high school so long ago, it was “B.C.”.
Okay, stop laughing. This abbreviation means “Before Computers”.
I remember our first course about computers was called “Computer Math” taught by Mr. Greaves.
The first homework assignment was…
“You are driving a car at 60 miles an hour [apologies to those who learned only metric, but this is before the metric system] on Highway 401. You get a flat tire. Fix the flat tire. Write out what you would do to fix the flat tire.”
Well, there was a collective groan from the class. Most knew the steps to fix a flat tire but we had to write out so many little details. If you had a mechanic in your family, the others figured the student had an advantage to get a better mark. And don’t forget with four tires to consider in order to find out which one was flat, the task was longer.
The assignment was handed in, placed precariously on the pile sitting on his desk, as anyone who had Mr. Greaves as a teacher would know.
Some wondered when we’d get our mark for the assignment. He picked up each one and looked at them one at a time, but not going through each student’s homework whether it was a few pages or tens of pages. He only read the first page.
He looked up and grinned, before saying something like, “Everyone is wrong.”
We sat in horror. It was obvious by the number of pages; we had given the assignment a lot of thought.
He pulled the string on the roll up screen which concealed the homework assignment and asked us to read it with him.
He read us the question again before saying, “You are driving a car at 60 miles an hour on Highway 401.”
“Would you open the car door and get out of the car before slowing the car down to a stop?”
A collective groan echoed in the class.
Mr. Greaves said something that obviously I have remembered to this day and have told many others.
“A computer is only as smart as the person who programs it. If you don’t tell it a step to do, the computer doesn’t know to do it. Assume it is stupid.”
Q. Who was the architect of the Campbellford High School located at 119 Ranney Street?
A. Find out the answer in next month’s newsletter.
Last month’s answer: George Chuvalo in 2010
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