Re: What, Me Think? (was RE: clarification needed)

Subject: Re: What, Me Think? (was RE: clarification needed)
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 12:27:51 -0800

Mike Hiatt wrote:

> After the test it is a race to get through the material to be taught for the
> year. My point is, don't blame just television, video games and email.

Video games and email are often cited as the source of educational
problems, but I wonder if they really are.

For one thing, I've noticed that the media always has to have some
story angle about the evils of the computer (viruses, ubiquitious
pornography, violent games). I suspect that such stories play to
people's fears about technology and, in some cases, their ignorance.

For another, games and email can be time-wasters, but, unlike TV,
they're at least active. Kids playing games or writing email are not
just being passive participators. They're doing something - maybe
not something that I care much for (my personal tolerence for Quake
is about five minutes), but at least they're not just lying back and
waiting to be entertained. So, I suspect that they will learn more
easily than the dedicated channel switchers. Certainly, a lot of
coders are also heavy game players, so games don't seem to hurt
people's intelligence.

Email in particular may be useful. It doesn't teach structured
writing, but it makes writing and exchanging ideas in writing an
ordinary part of people's lives in the way that they haven't been
for the last few decades. In the early 90s, I used to encourage this
same familiarity by having students write daily journals, but, now
it might not be necessary. In other words, email may do the first
part of a teacher's job for them.

I tend to view games as a mitigated evil, and email as a generally
positive development for education.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
604.421.7189 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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