Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Catching Up to do

I'm not really great at keeping up with blogs. It could be attributed to my hectic work schedule, or just plain laziness but in retrospect I like to think that my lack of blog participation is very much related to Neil Postman's view of technology in relation to education - there's something inherently comforting or conducive to learning when it involves the physical act of discussion. I am not saying that I refuse to participate in blogging rather I prefer discussing the material in class. But I also understand how keeping up with a blog adds a different dimension and experience to what I've been reading.

The video we watched in class relating to education and how it could be converted to function in an online model reminded me of the first section of the Communication & Cyberspace readings- particularly Levinson's paper in which he discussed a text messaging based education model. Both the video and Levinson's piece spoke of a future in which education would be less physical (class room discussion) and more cyber driven. Well personally I think I would have a hard time with that. Yes, its unavoidable that the current education model must incorporate technology such as online courses, virtual classrooms, video conferencing and even blogging in order to make it more accessible and relevant to the rest of our cultural experiences but its a bit unnerving. Unnerving, because online education threatens to unravel issues that have been successfully addressed by the current model such as: special education programs for disabled individuals - how is the online model going to accommodate them? Or what about people who don't have access to computers?

The social interaction (the one Postman spoke about) is something fundamental in education. As we saw in the film there seems to be this drive to fuse the current education model with online education but also a fear. A fear that completely replacing the current educational system with an online based one would destroy institutions that have been existence for more than a century. That's were we end up - this fundamental dilemma. Change is coming but to what extent and in what form? This seems the recurrent theme of at least the first half of the book.

So far I have one entry (this one) but for next time I'll revisit: the second half of Cyberspace & Communication, The Transparent Society (which was a pretty great read) and Writing Machines - man I have a lot to blog about

1 comment:

Lance Strate said...

Postman was a great believer in the value of class discussion, it's true, but he also gave written assignments, in some courses requiring a reaction paper for each class meeting. And that is pretty traditional and time-honored, so I fail to see the problem you have in writing a reaction paper and instead of handing in a hard copy, posting it on this blog.

On the point concerning disabilities, it's pretty clear that real space poses many more obstacles than virtual space, and that of all the various demographic groups, people with disabilities are one of the major beneficiaries of distance education, if not the single greatest beneficiary.