Rethinking Education Pt.14: Laptops And Digital Teachers

It is not about technology at all, don’t be surprised.

Let me share with you a dirty little secret about laptops: laptop is a personal space.

And to my mind it is even more important than all communicational and other capacities altogether.

What we do at schools is we deprive kids of their personal spaces. Similar rooms, similar desks, similar workbooks, similar dresses, similar questions, similar teachers with similar smiles on their similar faces. Generalization and impersonalization are everywhere. And of course it is not argued that all kids are unique.

Writing “Kilroy was here” on the desks or on the walls is not deviation, I’m sure it is very healthy and very natural under above conditions.

People need personal space. We are near 7 billions, and amount of space per human decreases every single day. We suffocate living in our cubicles, we see nature only on TV, we forgot what the personal space is, our personal space is defeated, it is pushed inside, producing psychopaths and successful politicians.

Of course we need laptops, something external and belonging to us, something we can identify ourselves with, something customizable, something that can be personalized – our personal space.

It is even more relevant in classrooms, where the pressure is so high.

We are alone. Take an “average human”. What about his society? 100, 1000, 10000, 50000? And 6,799,950,000 people don’t care. High pressure. I wish there would me more people living with words of Jimi Hendrix in mind: “You don’t care about me – I don’t care about that”.

Look at all who love total customization of everything. They need something to care about, so let us do not make them suffer, let us do not make them make Napoleons and Hitlers from their poor selves. Let us stop depriving ourselves of our personal spaces.

Kids are very good at learning. They will learn whatever we will teach them. They will learn to be alone while parents are still at work and teachers do not care after the lesson is over. We are so tired to make our lives better, we have no time for love when there is financial crisis on the TV.

So what about laptops? Laptop is a sign. Everything in the world is interconnected. The system precedes its elements.

And I won’t be surprised if we will come to realize that in average “digital teacher” would be preferred — one who lives inside laptop and is always over control and is always at hand, that can be customized, personalized, you can choose her voice, colour of her eyes, whether she will be fat or fit, asian or brown sugar, then tune some additional expert parameters or use defaults if you have no time today.

And that digital Mrs.Dewey would be better for education than Mrs.Jones who has 3 own kids alone at home 9 hours a day. And it will be fair for the kids whom we care about so much. Digital teachers will have strong competitive advantage.

We have started with laptops at classrooms and customizable textbooks publishing (that is called open source publishing). Customizable open source teachers will be our next step.

Don’t be surprised.

Leading photo by Wah-ppshhh

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Comments

Just a few words about “we are alone” and
“others don’t care”,
i watched an interesing movie yesterday,
i suppose it is well-known: Zeitgeist.Addendum.

Beyound all propaganda, it contains a sudden idea.
I wrote “sudden” because i got the same idea in my mind during a very long time, and authors of the movie are making it public and they are saying “it is what we need”,
but the idea is quite innormal for the
present state of society (in my opinion).

In two words, the idea looks like:
“we should stop being alone, because we are the same
(or better: we are the one),
and the most effective way is to think ourselves as a humanity at all”

well, not in two words.. but this is it.

Saying more appropriate to the article,
customizing is good, but it can lead us to personal boxes.
(Matrix movie is a cool example)

The most effective way to use personal differences is to apply them in the right place,
i am saying about creativity and producing,

but true creativity and producing become reality
when a kid becomes a man

so.. may be we should concentrate our interest
on the right balance

[...] first example is the importance of personal space. Some time ago I have written about laptops as personal spaces. Continuing that thoughts I can say the fact that laptop is a personal space becomes important in [...]

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