Nugget-Ted Nelson at Midterm

“Rather than seek to achieve in the way they are supposed to, students turn to churlishness, surliness, or intellectual sheepishness. A general human motivation is god-given at the beginning and warped or destroyed by the educational process as we know it; thus we internalize at last that most fundamental of grownup goals: just to get through another day. Because of this procedure our very notion of human ability has suffered. Adult mentality is cauterized, and we call it “normal.” Most people’s minds are mostly turned off most of the time. We know virtually nothing of human abilities except as they have been pickled and boxed in schools; we need to ignore all that and start fresh. To want students to be “normal” is criminal, when we are all so far below our potential.”

         Nelson is trying  re-innovate the student’s learning process and stray away  from institutional conforming education. Nelson feels that rigid lesson plans and stringent interpretation of intelligence mistakenly limits the students innate ability to acquire knowledge. Computer base education is  scrutinize because the computer is expressed as a “cold” inanimate object that sole purpose is to be commanded, while a living person can passionately articulate lessons and experiences to students. The misconception is that even before computers we have been using inanimate objects to learn without the “warm” guiding hand of an instructor. When you buy a vacuum, you open the box and you find an array of bubble wrapped components and accessories that is waiting for construction. You dig to the bottom of the box and find the assembly manual,  a coarse parchment that teaches(tools,parts,diagrams,drawings..etc) and guides you to the proper assemblage of the vacuum.  I don’t think Nelson is stating that all teachers are bad but that the teacher isn’t going compliment every students learning style. He’s stating that the computer system is a mechanism that can be manipulated NOT to restrict how the student learns, regardless of student’s individual learning style. That’s an important point, its easier to systematically design a computer(programs,applications, databases,algorithmic props) than restrict a “human” teacher with experiences,beliefs and bias. I remember when I was a sophomore and I was required to take University Physics II, my professor was foreign. The lecture was abysmal, he had a very harsh and thick accent that made interpretation nearly impossible. The course was difficult enough without trying to decipher what the professor is saying, coupled with an assertive personally made him unapproachable. Luckily, I had homework through a online homework database that cleared up discrepancies, gave examples and rewarded correct answers. Change is inevitable, utile to fight and ever-evolving, embrace it                         . 

One thought on “Nugget-Ted Nelson at Midterm

  1. Your most interesting line to me was this one: “That’s an important point, its easier to systematically design a computer(programs,applications, databases,algorithmic props) than restrict a “human” teacher with experiences,beliefs and bias.” I would also say this pertains to “student” also — his/her experiences, beliefs and biases. The human element can’t be disregarded in the learning process, and finding a way for the computer to augment this learning is the goal of an online teacher.
    I also appreciated the example you gave of the human physics teacher and your relief to have an online tutor to supplement what you couldn’t learn from the teacher. This is a great post!

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