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May 12, 2008



better people raise better people - education is a relational process - it requires people to be in communion with each other - i find it difficult to be in communion with a machine, however good the info or 'knowledge' - it seems to me that what we really need to 'know' in order to live well, to be a better person, we need other people for, not other technology ? 'to teach is to create a space in which the community of truth is practiced' - i don't think hardware or software would provide me with that experience ? it is interesting to ponder the limits of technology - peace, julie


Bravo! It's unnerving to hear people talk about people and learning in terms of 'efficiencies'. There is a communal and mentoring aspect to our educational system that will never be 'downloaded'; it must be nurtured and modeled into the student. Additionally, somebody tell Mr. Smartphone that we can't assume that everyone has access to Google. That approach to educating would seem to make the opportunity gaps in our economy even larger.

Interesting post. Nice comment, Julie.


thank you indeed for your encouragement

Jonathan Brink

Books (and education) help us organize and digest the collective information in a productive way. I don't really want to spend my life searching the trillion pages on the web. Most of it is irrelevant.


are folks actually saying virtual words have less usefulness / accuracy / integrity than printed words?

isn't this the same camp that says bloggers are less than "real newscasters"... or that online dating relationships are somehow less than dating via letters?

of course, the wiki <-> britannica comparison doesn't seem to support that online text is less accurate or important.

and i should disclose i met my wife on eharmony seven time zones away – don’t tell me emailing, messaging and webcaming aren't better than working through a third world post office.

am i really hearing a longing for the good ole days before the internet?

no matter how romantic you paint it - just because something is in a book doesn't mean its right - or that it hasn't excluded a large swath of relevant facts. books are biased. so are blogs - but at least on the internet you get a much faster vetting of bias and facts. and talk about irrelevant - books can be irrelevant before they're printed. i mean, would I even look something up on britannica? and no hyperlinks?

and quite to the point - yes, with the $100 laptop (OLPC) - everyone *could* have access to google, and wikipedia. but intel crushed that with their classmate.


i absolutely agree that the role of a teacher is paramount - a machine doesn't (won’t ever) have a soul - or intuitive skills. (i am not a subscriber to strong AI).

but i do think the guy has a point here... remembering facts isn't the point. learning how to think - that most decidedly *is* the point.

e.g. i need to learn how to + - x / on paper and in my head - but the point isn't that i should keep doing that. once ive mastered the concept a machine should provide that factoid for me when called upon. and this goes for all other factoids as well. this providing of factoids is precisely the role of google / technology in education and life in general - is it not?

i wasn't at the meeting - and i didn't hear the spin he put on it - but based on what i've read here - i feel like i am missing something! :-)


p.s. i just received your book Kester - lookin forward to it!


No, not a call for the good ole days before the internet... but rather, a call for sensible use of it.

If my wife and I are in of an evening and both reading, with music on, there is nothing more relaxing. One can interrupt, there is stillness.

But if we are both tapping away on Macs, or browsing the net, there's a freneticism that just isn't there with the printed word. There's something profoundly busy about computer use that I'm increasingly suspicious of.

And the trouble with Google: it contains almost everything. So where do you tell a child to start, or what to believe? If the factoids are out there, why learn them anyway? Education is about exercising the mind, not filling it.


Interesting. Last week I was in a presentation given by the Diocese who run the school in which I work. One of the key points he made was that essentially the government is interested in increasing a pupils potential productivity to keep the economy healthy. When people are taught things related to behaviour it is in an attempt to correct a problem that is going to hamper your future productivity. He was advocating that schooling is a more holistic activity and at its heart is community.

Chris (Year 9) who was looking over my shoulder says says. "I have a better idea. Don't teach. Give each pupil a laptop and restrict it to certain sites that are related to the topic."

An interesting educational philosphy there :D


I totally forgot my original thought...

Only a man who spends his life dealing with wires could come up with that nonsense!


Spot on!


Well, precisely. Just because it's out there doesn't mean that people will find it, or even know enough to look for it. That's like saying, "Well, it's all written down in the textbooks now; what do we need schools for?" And I agree about unplugging a bit as well. I've missed my blog over the last few months, but I believe the writing I'm doing OFF the internet is valuable (to Me) in a more significant way. Making me a better person, as you say, regardless of what happens with it.

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