Ancient History

Today I had a reason to look to the past.

ETUG (BC Ed Tech Users’ Group) is putting together a history archive and they called for stories.  So I googled my own name and found couple of my old OLD documents 🙂 (1991 and 1996) The story told in these is that the BC provincial government was addressing technology in education before there was even a WWW. The “Education Technology Centre” that began at Dunsmuir Lodge (the Lodge itself has just closed its doors) began in 1989 as a small group of folks with a mission to incorporate technology into the K-12 curriculum.

Some Highlights:

Pea and Solway were concerned in 1987 that there was an ever-widening gap between school and society. Interesting to reflect on whether our current education system reflects what kids do online now, in 2009? And in that year they were the authors of one of my all-time favourite quotes: “information access does not make education.”

Reading through I realize I still believe quite a bit of what I said and quoted back then…   having an enormous wealth of information available is not enough to guarantee that we will have an educated society.  But if an educated society *does” have access to each other and to virtually unlimited information, the potential is amazing!

And much of what went on all those years ago was like a preview of coming attractions….

CSILE (Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter in the 90s) was almost a wiki. John Seely Brown, who I quoted then for the cognitive science viewpoint and his emphasis on authenticity is someone I follow on Twitter now 🙂  Clay Shirky wasn’t on my radar screen back then, but he’s all about how we can make good use of what’s available (as were the cognitive science thinkers 20+years ago) and he’s looking to a future where the cognitive surplus, when used wisely, can take us in directions we were barely dreaming of  “back then”.

And work like Zimbardo’s can perhaps help us understand how we’ll take on new online roles, and what those roles will mean with respect to our ability to do good or evil.


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