Illich So Wrong, but Somewhat Right?

I have to admit that I am not a fan of many of the ideas that Illich introduces in his piece.  I find value in the educational system that I have invested a great deal of time, money, and energy in.  That being said, I do agree that the educational system is need of change.  Certainly not the radical change that Illich proposes, but a systemic change in the way that knowledge is shared.

We have seen the rise (and possible fall) of MOOC’s and other open source dissemination methods that share knowledge without putting monetary restrictions on who can participate in the knowledge sharing.  Though the underlying reasons for such courses were built on good intentions, revenue losses or lack of funding has made them unsustainable.  Illich would have us throw the baby out with the bath water.  The baby is not the problem.  It is the swirling much of bureaucracy that is the water that must be changed.  I will get off my soap box and move on to the make for this week.

I have certainly developed new knowledge through several of the networks that Illich proposes.  The Reference Services to Educational Object Networks is a way that I consistently learn.  With the internet at our fingertips, several repositories for knowledge come to mind.  I Google everything.  I learn through YouTube, electronic libraries, and yes, even Wikipedia.

The issue, I have with Illich’s ideas is that without the system of education that we have had for many years, there would not be any alternative networks for learning or educated people with the basic skills for navigating such networks

In short, I do not agree that the educational system should be abolished, only changed.  The networks for learning could add to the existing system and help foster a the much needed change.

Language: The Most Important Element?

First, I must say that I was quite impressed with Laurel’s use if Aristotle’s model in application to human computer interaction. The six elements as described by Laurel are all important and certainly are hard to consider independently.  Even if they are hard to imagine working independently, I found myself drawn to the idea that without language, the other elements would not easily relate.  Language is presented by Laurel as”in the selection and arrangement of signs…verbal, visual, auditory, and other nonverbal phenomena when used semiotically.”

I interpret that to mean both the images. media, audio, words, etc. on the hardware and the software,  Human/computer interactions (drama) may not be possible without language.  Am I reading too much into that description?  What do you guys think?

Nelson and Hyper-Media


I really like this graphic from this week’s reading.  I have generally thought of media as a brick wall for users, especially when interactions through a computer can be blocked when technology fails or is not “user-friendly.”  As technology and user interfaces continue to improve, I can see how learning through hyper-media can be used to lead students on a journey of exploration.