The net: it's all just a fad
It was one line in Clifford Stoll's TED Talk that made me wince in particular: take the computers out of schools. But having seen what he was 'predicting' in 1995 about the future of the web, I don't think I can take much he says as seriously as perhaps I should:
“Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney”
“….Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.”
“Then there are those pushing computers into schools. We're told that multimedia will make schoolwork easy and fun….Who needs teachers when you've got computer-aided education? Bah.”
“Then there's cyberbusiness. We're promised instant catalog shopping - just point and click for great deals. We'll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?”
“What's missing from this electronic wonderland? Human contact. Discount the fawning techno-burble about virtual communities. Computers and networks isolate us from one another. A network chat line is a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee.”
Thirteen years on some of these phrases are still bandied about by the nay-sayers: human contact through social networking is viewed sceptically and people still mistaken the intentions of those integrating ICT into learning and teaching - it does not replace the teacher. Thankfully, though, we can quietly and happily giggle at this one scientist's attempts to predict our futures.
Thanks to BrandDNA for the initial kick into this post.