[Edu-sig] Postmortem of my OSCON talk

urnerk@qwest.net urnerk at qwest.net
Fri Aug 5 17:31:05 CEST 2005

>Again - major disconnect.  Worrying about affordability implies we have
>already concluded that access to this stuff - in providing good education -
>matters much.

But who is this "we"?  My point is many kids of high school age and younger
have already decided they want to be computer virtuosos of one kind or
another.  Looking at all these geeks slinging laptops, I could think of
them as weapons I suppose, but a much better analogy is musical
instruments.  We're musicians in a way.  Indeed, the discipline we call
"programming" owes quite a bit to player pianos and other mechanized
players.  Gibson Guitars is a sponsor of OSCON this year.  Big booth,
guitars as prizes, awarded on stage.

Think of the piano forte, a major piece of technology, and how it's figured
in the education process over the last couple centuries.  It was a part of
the education of elites, often young girls.  However, due to
access/affordability issues, it was never widespread.  But electronics is a
very different story.  The barriers to entry are much lower.

>But I keep thinking we missed a step. Understanding why it matters, and
>of importance we are going to accomplish (and sacrifice) by wiring up to
>every school desk.
>Are you concerned about the potential for centralization and
>bureaucratization and dehumanization of our schools and education as a
>likely outcome of this process.
>Why the hell not?
>Why the hell not?

As I've said before, I don't think there's any stopping this technology
tsunami that's upon us (putting it that way makes it sound like a
disaster).  What we can do is manage and adapt to change, not stop it
altogether.  I think we're on an evolutionary trajectory that's ultimately
about improving living standards around the world, ending death by
starvation and yadda yadda.  In other words, I'm up beat about this
technology's potential.

But yes, I do worry about abuse.  I worry about weaponization, where we
could have had a civilian Renaissance.  As a Fuller Schooler, I'm always
looking for ways to bring the military on board, such that these ancient
hierarchies see a way forward, not a dead end.  When people with lots of
weapons and training in violence feel cornered, it tends to not be a pretty


mail2web - Check your email from the web at
http://mail2web.com/ .

More information about the Edu-sig mailing list