Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The importance of differentiae ...

... Turned On, Plugged In, Online, & Dumb: Student Failure Despite the Techno Revolution. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A computer is a tool. One must bring intelligence to it. One does not derive intelligence from it. Moreover, consider this:
Perhaps we are not fully aware of the extent to which instruction and education are accepted as being essentially the same thing. I think you would find, if you looked into it, for instance,that all the formal qualifications for a teacher's position rest on this understanding. A candidate is certified - is he not? - merely as having been exposed satisfactorily to a certain kind of instruction for a certain length of time, and therefore is assumed eligible to a position which we all agree that only an educated person should fill. Yet he may not be at all an educated person, but only an instructed person. We have seen many such, and five minutes' talk with one of them is quite enough to show that the understanding of instruction as synonymous with education is erroneous. They are by no means the same thing.

As for intelligence, "The word sends us back to Plato. The person of intelligence is the one who always tends 'to see things as they are,' the one who never permits his view of them to be directed by convention, by the hope of advantage, or by an irrational and arbitrary authoritarianism. He allows the current of his consciousness to flow in perfect freedom over any object that may be presented to it, uncontrolled by prejudice, prepossession or formula; and thus we may say that there are certain integrities at the root of intelligence which give it somewhat the aspect of a moral as well as an intellectual attribute."

Both quotes are from Albert Jay Nock's The Theory of Education in the United States. By Nock's standard, practically none of today's punditocracy can be regarded as intelligent.


  1. See here for AJN's Theory of Education, and here for his Memoirs of a Superfluous Man.

  2. [Sigh]

    A long list of articles about how stupid we all are - coupled with a luddite's plea to widen the digital divide.

    Mark Bauerlein wants to blame our computer screens for his, and his colleague's, lack of ability to actually teach.

    Looks like excuse making, whining and myopia to me, Mr. Bauerlein.

    Quick we've got to strip these computers from the Business School's classrooms. They lead to greed and unethical banking practices. I mean, there's the proof, right there in my depleted 401K! Damn computers!