Re: Beyond these walls...

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Sun, 29 Sep 1996 15:14:11 -0400

On Sun, 29 Sep 1996, Albert Rouzie wrote:
> ed seems headed for a corporate model and not all the models for virtual
> ed. share the Crumpean vision of play, exploration, interactivity and so
> on. Many are based on cutting costs, cutting out expensive profs,
> technology used to deliver banking ed more efficiently.

Albert, this is certainly true. Here in North Carolina, the implementation
of tech in ed is being governed by thick books of guidelines for how to
meet existing objectives using technology. On the surface this looks like
more of the same, only worse (perhaps)!

But, I think we also have to look at inherent properties of technologies.
In this, we have reason to be optimistic about the Internet. At its
inception, high-level scientists were supposed to do high-level, on-task
stuff -- exchange research results, that kind of thing -- but they also
managed to create the usenet! They found time to play, in other words.
The medium itself facilitates it. People planning to maximize control
will have their hands full, I think. In the factory model of tech,
control is the operative logic. In the computer model of tech,
communication is the operative logic. Communication is a form of play --
hence the inherent optimism about the Internet, I think.

> Maybe this means
> that the Crumps are more needed out there to provide and argue for
> alternatives. But they are needed inside too, because the U. is placed to
> organize these sites, courses, whatever.

Again I agree with all of this. I'd only want to add that it's also
possible that education as we've known it -- literally the whole kit and
kaboodle -- is dissolving. I guess we must just like this Crump guy --
we'd like to see him everywhere, ubiquity incarnate, in the U., outside
it, ringmastering the grand dissolution, etc. :)

> Actually, despite anxieties, I
> somehow feel a bit of visionary optimism about the longterm effcts of WAN
> on education. I see the net as furthering disciplinary breakdown and
> cross-fertilization, especially where writing pedagogy is concerned. But
> this vision is always dogged by its dystopian shadow . . .

Same as above, I agree but want to play anyway. Maybe the dystopian
shadow is due to having fought against the former, factory model of tech
and seen how, in the end, it wins -- but not seeing that we may, just may,
actually have a tech model now which will frustrate the controllers more
than the players? In other words, given what we've been through, our
skepticism is reasonable, as is our optimism -- given we've had some
amount of time to get to know the new tech model.