Dreams of the Machine

So this guy Nelson has a lot of ideas, and not many of them interest me. In fact, none of them interest me beyond the basic concepts he’s presenting, which are not new to me because I was raised in an environment built off of these ideas of structured learning.

Not that I’ve been educated in this way, but I understand the idea.

I like to satisfy my double-post duties in one post, so I’ll show a website that I think takes this guy’s basic motivations to heart.

http://www.duolingo.com/

Why don’t people learn more? Are they lazy?

(yes)

But is that really what prevents them from going out and learning?

(partially)

So what can we do about it?

Well, we can make the systems of education more fluid, more focused on individual experience as a learner rather than as an educator, etc. etc. etc.

I don’t have anything else to say on this topic, as the basic ideas that Nelson put forward are satisfactory to me; I wonder how he would respond to things like duolingo, khan academy, etc. etc.

I imagine he’d survey them and evaluate them as “good starts”, but not anywhere close to reaching the true potential of these dream machines. Computers have acted as guides for education, at least in my life, since I was a very small child. I have never felt more intrigued by a subject on a computer than in a book, so I can’t say that these personal computers have done what Nelson wanted them to do, i.e. make me more interested in learning. In that respect, his ideas have not been realized.

But people are learning better from the internet. More available instruction and better structured content is appearing every day, more and more in-line with the goals of the Dream Machines. I do believe it’s only a matter of time until we see a true incarnation of the dream machine that Nelson prophesies about; it’s just going to take longer than he had imagined.

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3 thoughts on “Dreams of the Machine

  1. Pingback: People should learn how to assist themselves. | Pencils Down

  2. Pingback: Better than the Lecture… | jess.kaley.land

  3. Thanks, Aaron, for providing the link to Duolingo. I had not heard of it before, but it sounds like a neat way to learn another language. I do agree with you that the full potential for the use of computers in the classroom has not been realized at this point in time. I’m glad that books are still important in the academic world. I’m intrigued by what iPads can do in the educational setting, particularly since the Rock Hill School District is giving them to virtually every student grades k-8–I believe–to use in the classroom to improve instruction. It will be interesting to see how instruction is improved, if the quality of the students’ education is improved, and if test scores go up.

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