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Posted by Nutrimentia on 10-15-2001 01:27 AM:

An interesting perspective the impact of the Internet on education

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/A...4275603,00.html

quote:
During a debate at the Royal Institution in London, Dr Blackmore predicted that the rapid advancement of new technology would mean so much information was available at the touch of a button that humans would no longer need to gain knowledge in the traditional sense by storing information in their own memories.


Interesting augmentation theory here. Human memory capabilities are finite and with the internet we have established an external near-infinite memory capacity. Now we can dedicate our onboard bio-computers to developing methods to accurately access and process this information.

It's still a ways off, but there will be a time when you can store pretty much everything you ever would need or want to know in your pocket, kind of like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You wont have to know anything other than how to turn it on and search through it. All that's needed then is a neural implant....wait, I'm stretching out into areas I don't really believe in.

Fantasy conversations of neural implants aside, what do you think about the idea that having information available at the click of a button is likely to shift the emphasis away from learning about stuff to learning how to find information about stuff?
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Posted by Roshigoth on 10-15-2001 01:37 AM:

Wait.. it's... The Pocket Google!

There's still the need for the ability to understand the info.. doesn't do any good to be able to find it if you can't understand it. But I do believe that memorization of everything doesn't accomplish much when you can find the info elsewhere. On the other hand, teaching people how to UNDERSTAND and THINK are the two most important aspects of education, and no amount of available raw information will replace the need for that. I do wish that schools would do a better job of imparting this to students.

Oh... also, there is some basic knowledge that most people should have at least an introduction to, that will be useful in life but without at least a basic exposure to it, people generally wouldn't think to look it up.

But if this were to occur, I would want to see emphasis on the application of the available information rather than the simple ability to retrieve it.

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Posted by Fiend on 10-15-2001 01:44 AM:

Agreed, except for the very few that can read information and immediately understand inherently how it works, kids will read information and not understand how it relates to other things.

Although a hitchhikers guide would be kick ass

I know Nute won't talk about bioimplants and whatnot, since he thought The Age Of The Spiritual Machine was shite.

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Posted by missphinx on 10-15-2001 01:59 AM:

One could make the same argument about the invention of written language, or books, or ...

I've never been a big fan of rote memorization of information I had no interest in. I forgot most of it about 5 minutes after whatever final I was taking, anyway.

At the current level of development of search engines google, the key to finding the best information is understanding enough of what you're looking for to find it. I believe broad general knowledge is highly important, as well as in-depth knowledge in areas of specific interest. Same as always.

People also seem to be lazy about learning how to use the tools to find the information, same as always. It's a skill.

I'm sure the tools will evolve to make it simple. I doubt people will evolve as quickly to take advantage of access to near infinite information, neural implants or no neural implants.

I like the idea of neural implants. A hundred years from now, after the technology has been thoroughly debugged.


Posted by Hazard on 10-15-2001 02:17 AM:

I look at this thread, and can't help but think how much my French, German, History, Geography etc schooling has changed my life.

Ha.

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Posted by Nutrimentia on 10-15-2001 02:23 AM:

quote:
Originally posted by AlcoholSoopaFiend
Agreed, except for the very few that can read information and immediately understand inherently how it works, kids will read information and not understand how it relates to other things.

Good call.

Although a hitchhikers guide would be kick ass Agreed. Realize, of course, that with that much information, everything gets distilled down to barest minium. Remember that Ford's description of Earth for the entire universe to see was "Mostly Harmless."

I know Nute won't talk about bioimplants and whatnot, since he thought The Age Of The Spiritual Machine was shite.


Yeah, I've criticized that book pretty harshly, and perhaps unjustly so. I am not of the opinion that he is wrong, but rather that he is looking in the wrong direction. The future that he envisions is just as viable as many others and I don't reject it outright. He has done nothing more than take current computing speed/shrinking size evolutionary cycles waaaay out. He does have a few assumptions, namely that we will decipher how the brain works and be able to replicate it (and thus a 'person') digitally, but that isn't reaching too far. Assuming we are able to replicate/ duplicate someone, there are some fun thought toys there exploring the nature of the individual and consciousness.

My opposition to the premise of Age of Spiritual Machines was that it entirely rejected machine consciousness as an entity of it its own. He only talks about human consciousness/ intelligence, as if that is the only manifestation of it in the world. The machines are never more than augmentation tools for humanity (which is true) but there are some very very interesting possibilities regarding a unique type of consciousness (and hence life) that is so different, so alien, that most people won't be able to grasp it even if it was explained to them, much less discover it on their own.

Go get Dyson's Darwin Among the Machines and read it now. I won't go into what he says here, but leave you instead with this thought experiment. If you grant that compared to everything below it, cells are pretty intelligent (if not necessarily 'conscious' in a cellular life-type of way) yet entirely 'unaware' of the role they play in making up our level of life/ consciousness/ intelligent, imagine if we are 'cells' making up an even higher level of consciousness/intelligence/ life as different in its manifestation as we are from individual cells.
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Posted by Postmodgirl on 10-15-2001 05:59 AM:

... wasn't that an episode on 'the outer limits'?

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Posted by bunkum on 10-15-2001 08:57 AM:

hypertext

I think it's important to look ahead and to take steps now that would prevent displacing critical thinking, memorization, and the ability to make connections with mere info-referencing.

Some steps involve reinvigorating the curriculum with some of the "old style" methods, such as formal debates and case making. More modern concepts, such as Problem-Based Learning and Communication Across the Curriculum also make sense, as they demand that students access information from a broad spectrum of knowledge, and apply it to a limited context.

One thing I've been interested in, but haven't gone into very much, is hypertext. Using the web as a sort of "drawing board" for connecting concepts, links are inserted in the text in appropriate places (think of Stile's updates, for example, where some words contained a link to another website). It's sort of like having footnotes, but the possibilities are less restricting. If education becomes increasingly electronic, then hypertext projects would be one way to help stem the tide of mere info-gathering.

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