Archive for November, 2010

Deschooling? Scary

Friday, November 19th, 2010

I really enjoyed today’s discussion of “Learning Webs” in Deschooling Society. My fellow participants had some great comments and insights. While the author made some good points, it is scary to think of changing the educational system in such radical, major ways all at once. I would be afraid the students, and indeed, everyone, would not be motivated or knowledgeable enough to be in charge of their own learning. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. The educational system and the society the author described sounds too different to actually conceptualize it. I can’t see it happening the way the author described it.

Turkle, Video Games, and Flow

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

I’ve played a video game twice, I think. The first was Pac Man, which I remember as being kind of fun, although I felt that I was not very good at the game. The second, I think, was Grand Theft Auto. I remember trying and failing miserably, to keep my car from crashing into things. I felt very out of control. My kids laughed and explained you were supposed to crash into things, not try to avoid it.  I didn’t enjoy that game at all.

So, I’ve never experienced the “altered state” while playing a video game that Turkle described. However, I can understand what she described as “muscle memory” or “flow” as being similar to sports when the mental and physical come together, and the body knows what to do without one being aware of the mind telling it what to do. I had a good friend who was an excellent golfer and he explained that feeling while playing golf. I used to play the piano and remember that feeling of “flow” — like my hands and fingers were moving on their own without my thinking about it.  

I can understand those who play video games and experience this feeling and use the game to kind of “self medicate” in order to unwind, de-stress, or feel in control of something. With me, it just won’t be video games I use to do this. I’d rather be reading a good book! To each his own!

Laurel-Computer as Agent

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

One of Laurel’s points that I related to was her question “Can computers think?” Of course not, but the author describes the Aristotelian point of view that an agent, is “one who takes action” , and the more accepted legal definition of “one who is empowered to act on behalf of another”. We accept that our computers are our agents, performing actions at our request. However, it is easy to forget that momentarily and to attribute the action to the computer. I find myself doing this all the time. In fact, I did it during the day’s discussion of this reading. I was complaining about my ipad “doing this” and “not letting me do that” when I was confronted by a fellow seminar participant (Thanks, Stephen), and was brought up short and realized, “Oops, yes, I’m doing just what is described in the article” .  What an illustration of the author’s point!