Quick thoughts on the Flickering Mind

I had barely checked this book out from the library, based on a recommendation from Leigh, and it got recalled. Similar in argument to Cuban’s Oversold and Underused, Oppenheimer paints a pretty grim picture of technology use in schools. I agree with many of his points, however, and this one in particular:

And obviously, the World Wide Web–the uber-program of the modern age–is a useful in not invaluable research source for all of us. But we all must realize that opening the Internet’s door to youngsters requires teachers to accept additional responsibilities. This does not just involve watching out for pornographic of violent material; that’s the easy part. It also concerns watching what values and beliefs students develop about what knowledge is; how it’s built; how it’s used; and what it demands of them as students and as citizens. Downloading a captivating live software applet from a NASA website, which some Web designers has loaded with a few earnest questions to satisfy somebody’s grant requirements, does no a satisfactory lesson make. Nor does simply writing a paper about this material, based on some extra Internet “research.” p. 395

Todd Oppenheimer The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology

This perspective is one that I find valuable as we prepare to head to the NWP Annual Meeting and will be blogging, wikiing, and podcasting along the way. Questions I am asking myself…

  • What literacy goals do I have in mind by asking teachers to engage in these activities?
  • In what ways might the technology help them become better students (of English teaching) and citizens?
  • How will they create their own content that is meanginful to them as well as insightful for those not able to attend the meeting?

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