June 19, 2024

“New” Whitepaper

Back in 1996, I presented a couple of public lectures in Melbourne, Australia. Portions of those seminars were published in a monograph entitled, Computing and the Internet in Schools: An International Perspective on Developments and Directions.

It seems to me that after fifteen years of ‘Computer Literacy’ nobody seems to be really ‘literate’, and very few can ‘compute’. Since I am among friends, dare I whisper the awful secret that we have not really achieved very much?

I no longer have a digital copy of that document and spent years trying to figure out a good way to get it online since it was printed in blue ink (making it difficult to scan) and even if I did scan it, the OCR would be terrible. After wasting time and money buying a series of crappy sheet-fed scanners, I finally bit the bullet and bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap S510M Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner (Mac model) (PC)

This scanner rocks! It’s reliable, fast at more than 30 pages per minute BOTH SIDES and automatically knows if one side is blank or if the document is upside down or sideways. It’s the best investment I’ve made in ages. The OCR even works! Now, I’m able to archive all sorts of gems from the past. I’ll share some via my blogs in the future.

In any event, I cut up a copy of the monograph, inserted it into the new scanner and now I can share it with the world in a searchable PDF format.

Remember that co-operation begins at home. If you have classrooms in rows, where the children never talk to each other, then it is highly unlikely that you are going to succeed with any collaborative projects in cyberspace.

Was I prescient in the predictions made about the future more than twelve years ago – long before anyone was blogging or talking about 2.0 anything?

To my mind, the notion that we are going to use the greatest communication vehicle ever, to deliver lesson plans, is not a useful one. In a worst case scenario, if implemented, such an approach could be a way of controlling what teachers do and what children learn.

(NCLB anyone? BrainPop? ‘Interactive Whiteboards’ with content delivered by the vendor?)

Read it and you decide. I’d love to hear what you think!

(quotes from 1996 document by Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.)

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