I could find just so many interesting nuggets to work with in this reading. It has been the most appealing, interesting, creative and motivating for me to read so far. I felt almost a “connection” with some of the statements I read. (Wait… That’s such an interesting thing to say… how is that possible anyways? to feel a “connection” with a bunch of characters on a white electronic page transmitting a message formulated only inside of your mind giving information to your brain so it can process them and understand them…. gee)
As I began the lecture I noticed the different format and design in which it is presented to us. It called my attention to see all those illustrations and funny calligraphy around the pages. I began to read it and I find it very interesting. The part that I found the most refreshing was the section that discusses and goes over the ineffectiveness of schools. The phrases that especially resonate on me were:
The human mind is born free, yet everywhere it is in chains. The educational system serves mainly to destroy for most people, in varying degrees, intelligence, curiosity, enthusiasm, and intellectual initiative and self-confidence. We are born with these. They are gone or severely diminished when we leave school.
Everything is interesting, until ruined for us. Nothing in the universe is intrinsically uninteresting. Schooling systematically ruins things for us, wiping out these interests; the last thing to be ruined determines your profession.
That last phrase blew. my. mind. So that means that movies and cinema were the last things to be ruined for me? I am grateful for it! Just kidding, but, think about it for a moment. It is a very haunting statement what they are suggesting.
I put those two phrases together because they were part of the same section and both statements impressed me very much. I could not agree more with them. How cruel is the school system sometimes that it murders child’s brilliance and creativity from an early age. The rest of the text develops a valid thesis of how computers and technology would help to the learning process, by changing and readjusting whatever is missing or needed now. Then I thought of the pros and the cons, and although I am part of the generations that did not have computers in the early years of education, I believe that it could be extremely helpful. However, I also think that it will be somewhat risky. It is interesting just to imagine it, but I still think that it would have very complex connotations. And parents may ask, how are the programs exactly going to be like? What are they going to teach the kids and how will they teach them? Would it really be efficient? Would it depend on the geographical zone or socioeconomic position? The answers may be given to them, and, everything in theory seems very nice and valid, but reality is a different case. How would you know that it would make an impact when those kids grow up? It may have to take a life time experiment to find out about it. Aside from the technical stuff, I also consider this a very distant possibility for many parts of the world, where, the people would probably not have the money for that kind of educational systems. However, it is probably only a matter of years before such technology is available for most of the people in the world, as it happened with lap tops or smart phones.
As an extra, I just wanted to share the phrases that I found the most captivating:
- “Computers are simply a necessary and enjoyable part of life, like food and books”. –So now computers are necessary like food for living, they’re still becoming mostly a basic need.
- “I hope they can further the individualistic traditions of literature, film and scholarship. But we must create our brave new worlds with art, zest, intelligence, and the highest possible ideals”. – This reminded me of the ideal of Engelbart to make the world a better place and help humans come up with better solutions to our problems. It deals with the sensitive/human part of the ideals.
- “I have not mentioned the emotions. Movies and books, music and even architecture have for all of us been part of important emotional moments. The same is going to happen with the new media”. – I liked this phrase because it mentions some of my favorite things: music, books and movies. And some of the apps we have today on “social media” allow us to explore more of them and we find more stuff and we learn new things. They also manipulate our emotions. For example, Instagram.
- “Studies concerned with rate of repetition and reinforcement are scarcely relevant if the student hates or does not understand what he is doing. They are boring, but probably less so than the usual materials”. – In an act of brutal honesty, this phrase reminded me of our attitude towards this course, in some way, at the beginning of the semester.