Thursday, October 18, 2007

Teaching, as it is and should be

As Ted Nelson reminds us, we mostly still see the computer screen as just a different kind of page -- an electronic stand-in for a sheet of paper, one with digital text written upon it. This isn't surprising. New things are always seen in terms of the technologies they supplant. It takes time for us to adapt to them and receive them on their own terms.

You probably recall Michael Wesch's Youtube video called Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us. As he says, "Released on YouTube on January 31st 2007, it quickly became the most popular video in the blogosphere and has now been viewed over 3 million times."

He has now released a new one on what it's like to be a college student today. View it here. I've put his description just below.
A Vision of Students Today
a short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today - how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime. Created by Michael Wesch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University.
Here's a link to Wesch's home page.


For most of us, I think the evolution of motorcars from their horseless carriage beginnings most vividly illustrates the ways we cope with technological change. In libraries, it has been the persistence of the catalog card as symbol of information retreval, despite their antiquity (born in the French Revolution) and replacement -- in most libraries -- by online public access catalogs.

My own take is the very slow recognition that "irrational" numbers aren't less real than "rational" ones. The wikipedia article explains this fairly well, but I like this explanation from BBC.

A personal note:

At college I held a scholarship named for Anthony Poole, Ted Nelson's best friend. Poole had tragically died young; I forget how. Wikipedia gives the basics about Ted, including what I remember from my youthful encounter with him: that Celeste Holm is his mom.