The high-tech parents from Silicon Valley are now sending their kids to a school that sells itself as computer-free. Why? Such technology is a distraction, turning attention away from reading, writing, numbers, talking, and thinking.
The buzz word in education is now ENGAGEMENT. My experience is that when the engagement people are pushed, they have a hard time explaining what they mean. They’re against lecturers who don’t involve the students actively in the learning process. But who isn’t? They should be, it seems to me, even more against PowerPoint, which focuses the students on the screeen–and so not on the instructor, the other students, or some real book.
The primary form of intellectual ENGAGEMENT is through reading, and the second through talking about and writing about what you’ve read. We at pomoncon (to prove how pomo we are) spend a lot of time talking about music and movies and TV. But everyone knows (say, in Carl’s Platonic, Tocquevillian case) that our engagement with pop culture is hugely informed by books much better than what we hear on our iPods (well, I don’t have an iPod) or see on our big TV screens (I have a really big one).
Let’s hope that Silicon Valley is the source of a new movement to get technology out of the classroom.