Monday, August 31, 2015

virtuous reality?

Can you imagine sitting around in classrooms with each student's face glued to a digital device? Socrative works cross-platform, so students can use windows or mac or their iPhones or other digital devices as the teacher scores their performance real time. So, being glued to a digital device for even longer than kids are now, seems to be the future that many in Silicon Valley have in mind for our children.

Time magazine got in trouble with some of their readers (those who are propelling us into a virtual world) for using such a dorky image of virtual reality on its cover. Those proponents of VR like to think of their field as sexy in some way. Not what you see in the image above.

We are past due for a revolution in learning. But the gifts of the digital age are not all they are cracked up to be.

Education must be fully dimensional. What's called one-sided education is where children are systematically fed a collection of formulas and facts, whether by book, lecture or machine, and then measured through abstract testing to determine whether or not those formulas and facts have been successfully inculcated.  (Inculcate means to instill through persistent instruction, and is not be confused with real learning.) It should be noted that there is very little that's virtuous about the virtual world. Kids are often engaged in video gaming in which the moral structures of the real world are not in place. Then they may become addicted to distraction by their engagement in these devices and literally sequestered from engagement in real life, and of no real use, even to themselves.

One huge irony is the success of Montessori schools in Silicon Valley. Many who are closest to the development of the technologies sold to the rest of us, would prefer to send their children to schools where they learn hands-on with real materials rather than the virtual stuff.

Virtuous (in contrast to virtual) reality, develops both character and intellect through the making of useful beauty. I am experimenting today by laminating parts for bows so that our kids at school will be able to make their own archery sets.

Make, fix and create... see that others have the opportunity to do so, too.

1 comment:

  1. If William Morris were here he'd say virtual reality is the final frontier of *makeshift* — a second rate version of the real. Its cultivation (if we can even call it that) is not where our best minds should be directed.