Why teach English when it seems the world will surely end?
The betrayal of technology, he requested, was to allow temporary focus - the ability to be present in an ever-changinglandscape that is
chaotic and informationally overloaded. The enduring question was, How do educators askdifficult questions that don’t have real answers in a world where finding answers is at the fingertips of everyone wanting to immediately know more?
Education is Stuck in the Past.
We are a nation where virtually all carry distracting devices that keep us from focusing on any one thing for a very long time. This, it was argued, might be robbing children of the benefits that come from being profoundly bored - the confrontation of discovery that comes when you aren't totally interested in the subject at hand, but you can't do anything about it.
Information superabundance + loss of focus = shallowness
The pre-Internet age fantasized the isolated writer, composing for an audience at a distance, seeking the proverbial publication to be distributed to regions of their imagination where information was controlled by him or her and access to knowledge was scarce. Mastery arrived with those who proved they had control of content.
Educators need to teach resourcefulness. Resourcefulness = Mastery.
Data storage in a single brain is the past. We all have digital brains carried in our pockets. This changes the way we learn.
Our institutions are preparing young people for a world that no longer exists.The 21st century classroom should encourage students to compose in graphs, images, text, maps, animation, data, sound, video, etc. Students should show they can think through self-generated information, recordings, online archives, production, etc. They must be producers and consumers. Knowledge is no longer created by individuals constrained by the traditions of institutions and academics are falling behind if they don't embrace this. It remains that scholars have ethical and moral obligations to the world, but how can any have control of all the information available to them?
This, perhaps, is what causes the apocalyptic vision rampant in American society - the end of the world - because no one can quite manage the future any longer. Video games, movies, the Zombie craze (see my nephew, Dylan) are examples of a younger generation trying to make sense of the bombardment of knowledge coming at them - it's easier to imagine death. Death is a simple hope.
The apocalypse, then, is born out of guilt. That's my thinking.