Response to: http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Topics/Education/Education-2
GREAT ARTICLE, BILL GATES IS AWESOME
[I had to shorten the reply to 3000 characters at The Gates Notes, this is the original, full version.]
All this is very good. However we must manage resources at the very top! Thank God Bill Gates is a good man. The use of technology freely given to the disenfranchised, the ease of use with which the machines are operated, such niceties are laudable. But what happens if the power falls into the hands of evil? That is the issue today in certain places which are using the internet to locate and oppress political enemies. Online learning should take precedence because it is fast and good, because it is user enabled and impossible to cheat with if programmed correctly, but it should always be backed up with paper! The most important elements having rightful places in culture even during blackouts!
Next issue... resistance to computing in classrooms can always stem from ad filtering. The intimate relationship between advertisement and media consumption can wreak havok upon the education scene. Learning and marketting HAVE to be kept as far away from each other as possible. The simple reason being that PROPAGANDA is its illegitamate and evil progeny. If you have kids who need a lunch room and then Walmart and Target rush to make the lunch room only on the condition that their logo be displayed, you have officially sold out your lunchroom to the highest, private bidder. IF the logo display REMAINS optional and the kids receive an announcement explaining that yes private industry helped fund their public space, BUT that space REMAINS public and is not beholden to such corporate interests, ever, at all, THEN the learning remains unfettered and the young minds FEEL un-oppressed. This is not a light issue, although it is under reported. The psychological effects of legality and presence are huge, if not well understood in today's 2012.
The simple fact remains that, take marijuana for instance, it being so popular, and so illegal sets up a culture clash of great proportions yet which is swept under the rug and ignored. Any activity which a citizen personally enjoys and truly regards as harmless yet which is made illegal and is used to defame LESSENS the impact of the TRUTH regarding TRULY heinous and illegal, hurtful activities. As Flach put it in, "The Secret Strength of Depression", an early 80s popular self help book, we experience moral numbing because there are too many opportunities for guilt. If we narrow in on what we want people to feel bad about, instead of spreading it so wide that folks have to decide what is right and wrong from the menu of their personal "recent-choices" we can better SPIRITUALLY ENFORCE our rules. There were only TEN commandments while the rest of the rules were left off of the marquee.
As far as learning in the computing age goes, THE BIGGEST VICTORY is the equalization of geographical limits in our world. The fact that an impoverished student with a brilliant idea in South Africa can make it to the world forum stage of Hollywood, for instance, is now commonplace and absolutely wonderful for the self esteem and practical plans and hopes of the avid student.
Learning is still taken for granted because it has not been singled out enough as one of the COMMANDMENTS of our modern world. Advertisers are reaping the fruit of its importance by placing their signals in its midst, yet are not being explicit enough in making EDUCATION cool and sexy, because they don't want to be seen as nerdy. Overly simplistic and reductionist aesthetics are using complex and detailed systems for the transmission of their (arguably non-)messages and it is time people woke up to the fact that unless we really really make a big deal out of grades, homework, degrees and just in general SMARTNESS, unless we pin point that specific IDEA as the biggest, best, coolest, most awesome thing... we stand in danger of undoing the progress that our cultural educative journey has gifted us with!!! CHEERS AND KEEP UP THE AWESOMENESS - PUT SMARTS FIRST - INTELLIGENCE RULES, THE DOLLAR DROOLS! :-)