Here we go!
Welcome to my blog! It is rather ironic that we are blogging for this course. I just assigned a weekly blog to my Internet in Education course and was lamenting that my class numbers have gone up to 23, so I have 23 blogs to add to my reading list! Now I have to put my “money where my mouth is” and write one myself, oh what cruel justice! Actually, I was thinking of starting one anyway, so here goes!
On the long drive home, I mulled over what I might write about, there were so many ideas to contemplate, from McLaren’s video segment to the analogy of educational technology as an iceberg.
One thing that did stick with me (pretty good for an old brain) was the McLuhan quote about the “Innis Mode”, taken from Brunner’s novel Stand on Zanzibar. The line in particular that struck me was this:
“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”
Taken by itself, I find this quote meaningful and important in my work as a “budding” academic and as an educator. It is a reminder that we often put forward our point of view, or opinion, yet we do so without evidence, critical thought or insight and understanding. As educators we want our student to voice their point of view, yet we want them to do so with thought and reason. Too often, in letters to the editor, sound-off features, blogs and so on, we get lots of points of view, but how many of these points of view are just off the cuff reactions without real reflection and thought. In today’s world, we have so much access to information. We are inundated by 24-hour news networks, subjected to the ramblings and pontifications of so-called pundits on Fox News or CNN or CBC Newsworld. With the “new” web, everyone can put out their point of view in blogs, comments, Facebook, Twitter (but only in 140 characters) and YouTube. Our students are exposed to all manner of points of view. The question is, how many of these points of view are backed by insight and understanding, by careful reflection and thought? Now, I don’t think this access to information, ideas and points of view is all bad. It is and can be valuable in many ways. Everyone can join in and have their voice heard. Valuable information and ideas can be shared. The quick and easy access to other worldviews and knowledge adds so much potential for democracy and equality, yet it also adds many challenges and has the potential for harm. To me, this makes the infusion of ICT into education even more vital. We must do so, however, in a thoughtful way, that enhances learning, critical thinking and self-reflection. This is the challenge to educators, to help our students sift through the points of view, to gain that elusive insight and understanding.