1. To be fair, the current version of Google Wave, known as Google Hangouts, has been a tremendous help to me personally in interacting at a distance, for education and otherwise. Which is not to suggest that education should be done at a distance.

  1. I think you guys are confused. Virtual does not mean fake, and trendy does not mean meretricious. Stop giggling and pull yourselves together.

    A high percentage of the Internet and of the MUDs and virtual worlds is crap first because a high percentage of everything is crap*, and second because this is the first generation in which people are learning all this stuff.

    It is still, however, real, powerful, important, and has as much potential for good as anything else does.


    *I think it follows from the Second Law that the total mass of crap in the universe has to equal or exceed the total mass of fodder.


    1. You’re presuming an argument I’m not making. I’m merely pointing out here that specific educational technologies are constantly being posed as revolutionary, and end up being consigned to the dustbin of history. You say that trendy is not meretricious, but that is exactly my point: we don’t know what’s effective and what’s merely trendy in the moment. At the time that these pushes are getting made, the particular technologies are always seen as legitimately revolutionary, but they frequently end up being just hot air. And the repeated failures of these technologies should come to inform our expectations of future educational technologies.

      1. Freddie,

        I guess I’m missing something here. I’m not presuming any argument of yours at all, because I don’t see any argument of yours, nor do I see you pointing anything out. I only saw your list of sources and two letters about that list. Is something of yours linked in somewhere?

        My note is in reply to the two letters.

        On the other hand I guess it would be fair to say that I see a soupçon of superciliousness in your selection of these sources. My own position might be that you’re of having cheap easy fun by shooting fish in a barrel.



        1. What two letters are you talking about?

          At any rate, fish in a barrel, yes — but every year university administrators, silicon valley hucksters and big Ed types are pointing to the latest “fish” and telling us it negates the need for foreign language instructors, for humanities programs, for seminar meetings, for libraries, etc. etc.

          1. “What two letters are you talking about?”

            The ones from Audrey Watters and your “lololol oh man, that is classic. ” Is this latter what you meant by “I’m merely pointing “?

            I agree with you that much of educational technology is nonsense: I’m the guy who claimed that the main effect of all those Britannica films in classrooms was to teach one kid per class who to run a Bell and Howell projector, exactly as those projectors were becoming obsolete.

            The main problem with education is that we have allowed huge numbers of the competent women to escape the classroom to become doctors, engineers, corporate managers, and so forth. My own eldest daughter would in previous generations have had to be a school marm, but instead has spent a decade running 60+ factories all over the Philippines for the Matsushitas (“You can’t have the plane on Thursdays, that’s when the old lady inspects Korea…”) She now flies around industrializing Malaysia, India and so on.

            The collapse of the priesthood makes some talent available, I suppose, but given the horseshit filling the minds of many very bright American Protestants, I shudder for that country’s schools’ future. Give us the robots any day!


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