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Learing from websites and filtering info

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 3 months ago

About learning from websites, filtering information, and so on, I

want to toss in Neil Postman's comment: our society's problems are

not problems of lack of information.


In my opinion, among the many things often missing from children's

education, access to information is far from the biggest problem.

Some of my more pressing concerns: children need a chance to develop

love for the natural world, to stretch their imaginations in various

ways (including play), to contact the beauty in mathematics and other

subjects, to get good at some activities that are difficult and

worthwhile, to move their bodies, to make things (cookies, paintings,

music, proofs, stories, plays) for themselves. Children need to drink

deeply of beauty and goodness and fun in the world--including

beautiful things that have been made by people who came before.


Maybe I haven't even mentioned the most important priorities, but I

fear that overemphasis on developing practical skills and collecting

facts will send to the future too many people who can manipulate

information without being very well connected to life. We need to

grow more citizens who are not numb.


And so with video games and movies, if we talk only about their

content (are they too evil? scary? violent?), I think we miss the

more important point that bombarding children with manufactured

imagery and prefabricated experiences may inhibit their ability to

imagine their own worlds and their own characters. Imagination isn't

just important for so-called "creative" activities; even reading

depends on it, because you must be able to form an inner experience

of what you're reading. We're already hearing about children who can

decode written words but can't understand what they read. And I hear

from some teachers about children who arrive at preschool unable to

play "lets pretend," and about their older siblings who reach college

unable to form an image in response to hearing a piece of music.


Any strong medium can foster numbness or encourage aliveness,

depending on how it is used. I think it helps to keep in mind a

question like this one from Alan Kay: what kinds of people do we want

to send to the future?

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