The Great Connections Seminar

The Great Connections Seminar
Discussing ethics

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"My Teacher is an App"

Learning through the Internet reminds me of Isaac Asimov's Encyclopedia Galactica in his Foundation trilogy - all the knowledge available at one's fingertips. A life-altering resource of knowledge.

"My Teacher Is An App" discusses elementary schools using computers for most of the learning, or "hybrid" models in which children do some in-person work, often through a homeschool, but more work through computers.

It's good that their virtual experiences and activities are so much richer than the mere paper and pencil learning of traditional schools. But I worry that they will not get enough real-world experience through such systems to develop their senses, their motor abilities, their knowledge, and their imaginations well.

We are living animals and our reason is highly connected to the functioning of our bodies. In the '90's, Antonio Damasio began demonstrating how poorly reason operates without a well-functioning connection to emotion; reason cannot enable us to choose well if cut off from emotion which relay our deepest core values and needs to the reasoning mind.

This connection is developed through sensory-perceptual-motor experience, through physical interaction with the world, through interaction with other people. These experiences can be simulated on computer but not replaced.

What happens to a person's ability to reason well and wisely about life-choices if they don't have sufficient real-life experience?

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