“Anonymous blog comments, vapid video pranks, and lightweight mashups may seem trivial and harmless, but as a whole, this widespread practice of fragmentary, impersonal communication has demeaned interpersonal interaction.” So writes Jaron Lanier in a provocative and thought-provoking book, You Are Not a Gadget, which I am currently reading. How curious (ironic, creepy) to find a preview version of it online.
“The Web has accelerated access to learning. There has never been a time in the
history of this planet when so much learning was possible throughout our lifetime. Not
only is learning access instantaneously, but you can also learn from global partners via
increasingly social, ubiquitous, and inexpensive technology. Despite persistent
complaints about education today, these are auspicious times when it comes to opportunities to learn
outside and inside schools.” So writes Curtis J. Bonk, on the other hand, in his online prequel to the book The World Is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education, which I am also reading. Not surprisingly, much of this is also available online.
Stay tuned! I’m still trying to decide whether to move closer to the Web (while avoiding the spiders) by using more Internet tools personally and in my classes or to move away from it lest it take even control of me! The distinctions between science fiction and science fact are both harrowing and narrowing—and I am determined to be in control rather than be controlled by technology. Thoughts of Isaac Asimov’s CAL and Arthur C. Clarke’s HAL haunt and taunt me. It is time for a vacation of reflection, rejuvenation, redirection, and resolution of conflicting thoughts about how best to teach and learn well.