Sunday, March 30, 2008

POW: Cringely

Robert Cringely put out an excellent column on 3/21/08, the podcast is here.  The theme:  Society at large is only just beginning to adapt to the emergence of personal computing, and that changes to come will be greater then the ones we've already seen.  He picks on schools in particular as an institution destined to be radically altered in character and purpose.

The current educational system is designed to help children internalize knowledge, that is to learn.  Technology in this setting is a two edged sword- on the one hand it permits vast and cheap access to knowledge (Wikipedia).  It also permits vast and cheap plagiarism and cheating (Yahoo Answers).

Cringely poses the question:  Should schools be fighting such conduct?  Is knowing how to find an answer an adequate substitute for knowing the answer itself?  In an information economy the answer must be yes, and if so what then should educational institutions look like?

For a less pessimistic view of the future of education, see Brown and Duguid.

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