Wednesday, 2 January 2013

School Is Dead - Chapters 10 and 11

The Internet 1971!

In these two chapters, Reimer predicts the internet - an amazing description of how people using computes can network together to form educational structures.

Chapter 10 - Networks of Things

Reimer starts this chapter discussing the importance of access to records and information. He predicts that the use of computers to do this will be cheap, fast and international. He describes how telephone or television lines could be used to network together cameras, projectors, computers, microscopes, telescopes and other devices.

While computers are useful, he does warn of a decline in access to and familiarity with tools, instruments and machines that are central to life in traditional communities but which are neglected in modern life. He is wary of people forgetting how to use these and suggests that schools and libraries should maintain collections for people to learn about and use.

He also recognises the importance of games and toys as educational tools. Many of the ideas that he suggests have been developed across the internet in web-based games and activities that simulate real life and learning experiences.

Finally, he reminds us of the significance of nature and people's need to be connected to their surroundings. Experience in the natural environment is important to learning and he suggests that nature can be a "mentor" to man's learning.

Chapter 11 - Networks of People

The way to utilise the network of things described by Reimer, that we use daily as the internet, is to develop networks of people, skilled people who can share their skill with their peers. Often these skilled peers are not available locally, and we need to search further afield to find a mentor.

"For adults, with their frequently highly specialised interests, even the largest cities cannot always provide true peers. The best illustration of this is the scientific community, which must be world-wide for the most fruitful peer encounters to occur."

Sounds like a PLN, Twitter, Facebook and Pintrest to me.

Reimer suggests that schools could be useful in establishing these links and communities.

"The operation of a peer-matching network would be simple. The user would identify himself by name and address and describe the activity he wanted to share. A computer would send him back the names and addresses of all who had inserted similar descriptions. People using the system would become known only to their potential peers."

And so we could share our skills and talents globally to support the learning and inquiry of other learners wherever they are. 
What a great idea - if only he had been able to put a copyright on it back in 1971!

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