no longer an exclusively vicarious one.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

on a scandal.

hello again. ive been doing some research (finally!) into the first real assessment that we have been set (more on why i call it 'real' later). it is an evaluation of pedagogical challenges to the digital education revolution in case study format. i have realised i really hate the word 'revolution' - you just know that the government spent money on consulting agencies just to come up with the term. but thats a side issue.

on my adventures through online journal-land i was confused by the polarity of the debate around digital technologies. now - i'm not saying that i have read everything on the subject, or am otherwise qualified to make a meta-study judgement, but this is just my first impression after a couple of days looking up sources and backtracing other references. there are folks like warschauer who seem to be putting out heaps of info, and quite good studies, on the benefits of everything clicky-clicky. even his article on equity (review of res. in edu., 2010 34(1)) ends on a high point for digital technologies. the general impression is that while there are massive differences in access to computers (he calls these 'gaps') it is imperative that We look at equalising the field by looking closely at how to get Good machines out to Everyone.

but then i found this guy (through one of his books 'oversold and underused'). he has one post in particular i found interesting - about the often unrecognised continuum of classroom tech 'skeptics' to 'utopians'. it occurs to me that the discussion back on That Post of mine did divide people into these categories. cuban mentions that someone who criticised the holy IWB's received hate mail and was strongly encouraged to apologise. this is insanity - the thing is a machine, and a very expensive machine at that. why is it that i now feel wary of even anonymously blogging my doubts about all this new tech? cuban and co are permitted to get away with it because they are so very eloquent, but it amazes me how much of the time on that blog is spent in justifying themselves, repeating that they like tech, are computer-proficient, don't dream of outlawing technology altogether.

now i'm not saying that i agree with what he's saying. for starters i haven't even finished reading one of his books. i'm just saying that it is nice to be aware that someone is vociferously taking a line that challenges a lot of the other things i have been reading, without a general assumption that he has no idea what he is talking about (which is how a lot of the anti-computer folks in the editorial section of the paper sound).

press gang is back on 7two. last week i caught the episode 'deadline' - the one where the newsroom receives a computer connected to the internet. it was cutting edge at the time and watching now, you can still sense the excitement. but even moffat, even back in the 80's, knew that that was not a story. the focus of the episode was in how the computer enabled a tetraplegic to send his stories in from home. its interesting that lynda refused to print his articles if he did not rock up at the newsroom in person for the meetings. cuban says that it is the physical communication of a classroom that is most important - it is what the students do not get outside of school. a place where they can discuss things in an academic way in person. there's that scene in serenity, where river is at a school where the tables are digitally enabled. the classroom still looked the same as they do now. they still talked to each other. i hope we don't lose that idea in amongst all this clicking.

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