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Re: [school-discuss] What would you do with a blank slate?

> Hi Evan,
> I think you know this well, but I'll still start off with this comment -
> computers don't teach people, people teach people.

I disagree. I have learned a lot from books, and from life experiences
outside the classroom that did not involve a "teacher." People, yes, so in
that way I agree with you, but what you wrote suggests to me opposition to
the idea of computers replacing teachers.

> * think of learning / teaching as knowledge work. what tools do knowledge
> workers need? a browser, an office suite, some tools for graphical
> organisation of ideas and concepts, creative tools (e.g. image processing,
> sketching, video editing)

You ignore content. You imply it with "browser" but what is being browsed?

> * people teach people, so give the people who teach the freedom and the
> support to choose their tools. make them the designers of the learning
> experience.

You seem to be confusing tools with content. Consider this: my teachers,
individually and as a group, selected textbooks and novels. They did not
choose what type of printing press they were printed on. Or perhaps you
have fallen into the trap of viewing the computer -- including software
tools -- as a subject to study. When I was a student we did not study book
making, we studied the content.

> * beware of flashy e-learning software with over-hyped interface and
> hyper-conservative learning philosophy or vise versa.

Now you admit there is educational content, but shy away. Yes, teachers
need to evaluate software, and watch out for flash without substance. On
the other hand, new students have grown up in a different environment, that
of TV and video games and YouTube. I believe there is huge potential for
creating learning situations in a form that looks like on-line games such
as World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy. And I admit that when I make such
statements, "professional" educators dismiss them as irrelavant and
irresponsible. I am finding a lot more interest in the home schooling
community than among professional educators.

Gary Dunn
Open Slate Project