10.0850 times & standards

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 10 Apr 1997 22:56:34 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 850.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: omar <drummojg@jmu.edu> (37)
Subject: Re: 10.0845 times & standards

[2] From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca> (42)
Subject: medium trauma

Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 19:19:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: omar <drummojg@jmu.edu>
Subject: Re: 10.0845 times & standards

> Share with these youngsters
>your own joy of learning. Let them help you think about the problems of
>our society and give them some hard thinking to do! Whether the problems
>are scholarly or technical or environmental, I think we would all be
>surprised by their capabilities and interest and WILLINGNESS TO WORK!
>Off the soap box now.
>Mary Dee

Mary Dee, yours is a venerable soapbox:

"If the colleges were better, if they really had it, you would need to
get the police at the gates to keep order in the inrushing multitude.
See in college how we thwart the natural love of learning by leaving
the natural method of teaching what each wishes to learn, and insisting
that you shall learn what you have no taste or capacity for. The
college, which should be a place of delightful labor, is made odious
and unhealthy, and the young men are tempted to frivolous amusements to
rally their jaded spirits. I would have the studies elective.
Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure
interest in knowledge. The wise instructor accomplishes this by
opening to his pupils precisely the attractions the study has for
himself. The marking is a system for schools, not for the college; for
boys, not for men; and it is an ungracious work to put on a professor."
<cite> Ralph Waldo Emerson </cite>

This, dispite the sexist language at the end and reference to colleges,
is arguably applicable to school-age children. There is a segment of
every school population made up of kids who fail because the work is
just what you suggest -- drudgery. From personal experience, I blame
my initial failures in college on the facile nature of my high school
experience; I got through with little effort, and expected this to carry
over into university life. I hope I don't need to assure you it didn't.
-john drummond

(quotation supplied by /usr/games/fortune.)


--[2]---------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 14:21:24 -0400 (EDT) From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca> Subject: medium trauma


Wendell Piez concludes his "cookie-dough" ruminations with a call to call upon parents to hear what kids actually learn. What about asking the learners directly? I can understand how TV generation comes to be equated with middle school or high school or grammar school attendees. But I want to stress, given the age of the medium, there are teachers who could be counted as belonging to the TV generation. My own cookies crumble according to the recipes of adult literacy campaigns.

Wendell points out

> (1) Kids could experience what print, video, the net really are, learning > their forms by participating as creators, and > (2) We didn't trouble ourselves to threaten them about it.

Broadening the age categories will not suffice to break the competition inscribed in a narrative that weds the pursuit of the essence of the medium to the exploration of its delights and horrors. What it is and what it does are not the first questions I like to ask in terms of media. These questions when harnessed in tandem replicate a very eerie technodeterminism.

Wendell himself offers a key (or a different cookie cutter) when he invokes acting, scripting as worthy pedagogical opportunities.

I want to suggest that in some scripts the threaten/seduce pair are not trouble, especially if the actants have both access to means of production AND can negotiate production values. Whether students and teachers are to learn the use of a cassette tape recorder, an instamatic camera, pencil and paper, a chalkboard or to produce the latest f/x, the key component of access is time, for it is time that allows creatures to do and undo habits. It is, for me, an odd retrospective glance that labels the undoing and doing as trauma.

In my world, the morphogenetic imagination will not necessarily treat a lack of learning as a need to repair a cognitive apparatus. The morphogentic imagination seeks to refine the tuning of the relations of the social organisim not by demonizing the media that bring social agents into contact. Rather, content rules. Content can be designed and created that works across sensory modalities and such content claims its ties to the commonwealth of media. To do so, is to tap into more than a child within, it is to truly celebrate the eros of time mispent for as many know and declare time wasted in the bookish reverie has made some of the best screenwriters...

hoping there's a fortune in your peanut butter cookie

and hoping there's chocolate chip if you're allergic to