Reviewing CW2K: Concluding Subtext - Back To Dewey's Future

Millennium hoopla aside, there must be some sense of irony when it's noted that the Computers & Writing field was thriving at this Nineteenth-Century-style academic conference. We came together to "deliver papers" and no matter how nifty our electrons were and how enduring our ideas are, we gathered as group of teachers in a downtown Fort Worth Hotel, not at a URL. This paradox would be described by Nicholas Negroponte as one between atoms and electrons. Will our atoms continue to need this conference? What does our human coming together in Texas say about our online lives?

It would be easy to ghost write a Frank Capra style answer. We love life and our sloppy, physical selves will probably never stop enjoying the traveling, talking, learning, eating, loving, and even thinking that a conference can generate. Here's where a trendy word like "hybrid" would be quite handy, but instead, let's consider the end of the field. How long will it be before learning virtual and practical knowledge is not a matter of virtual realities so much as life experience? John Dewey knew that creating learning experiences was a progressive process that works on many levels. Like the tornadoes that swept into Fort Worth only a few months before the conference, we are swept up on many levels with the energy and power of our turning.

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