A Review: Dreyfus: On the Internet

It seems to me Dreyfus is making a distinction between embodied and disembodied nature of the World Wide Web, not the Internet, especially in relation to hyperlinks. He is also romanticising the era of thinking that gives prominence to the idea of Cogito ergo sum, that thinking and existing is related, and also the mind controls the body.  And in relation to learning, his reference to Rousseau implies the importance of the child interacting with the physical environment. Hence the emphasis of embodiment in his critique about online or distance learning. Certainly philosophers for a long time have debated about the relationship of the mind and body. When we take this to a new level, in relation to Distance Learning, where the written word become the prominent medium of communication, Dreyfus is suggesting that the absence of the teacher aka the human body, only partial communication takes place. He takes it so far as to conclude that because the heralding of the new era of leveling the field in education through digital technology has failed to happen, twenty years on, it has failed.  And that it has failed because online learning cannot replace human face-to-face contact; that it cannot teach mastery of a subject, as learning has to be a progression from learning from the master as an apprenticeship, where you are physically present and immerse yourself in the job, to learn from the contact of a human master to master of the subject through practice; and if has failed because distance learning can never create the same mood of a physical classroom; that it is without the risks that pertain in an embodied situation, and it cannot achieve the same effect without the teacher and learner’s emotional attachment to the learning experience; and it will not work as the spoken word, expressions, gestures cannot be attained by exchanging written text on the cyber world. I think the premise of his assumptions is so much rooted in the past. Innovation is usually rejected strongly by traditionalists, as there is a tendency to compare an apple with an orange: both are different and so direct comparison is probably the wrong premise to begin with.  His critics, have more or less, torn down his assumptions, noting ‘Dreyfus’ failure of pedagogic imagination’, his oversight of what happens in reality in other domains especially in relation to his stages of learning, and the functionality...

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Welcome to the Chantelle Meckenstock’s eTutor Blog

Elearning is today’s buzz word.  Coupled with terms such as digital and hand-held technology, the teaching industry is forced to look closely at what actually constitutes learning and teaching. With the pressure to keep up with the newfangled tools, educators can be overwhelmed, and might fight shy of technology altogether. In this first blog, I am inviting all to consider the future of education and do post some of your thoughts here.   For a start, here is a site you can look through: http://www.ourblook.com/topic/future_of_education.html The articles here raise important questions which we will consider here. From time to time, I will recommend websites which I see as setting the trail for educators and technologists.  This will be a mix of scholarly articles and journalistic...

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