Selective Computing: Good or Bad?

After watching the 1968 Demo I am really stuck on the idea of the NLS (computer system)  serving as a tool to navigate through complex structure with the utilization of hypertext links and the mouse (a.k.a. the “bug”).  It really relates to the idea of “associational thinking” and the idea of “hierarchical structure” as the user can select exactly what he/she will learn.  So when we think of the computer as a means of education, it is interesting to think of it in this way.  Some would say that this ability to see what you want to see whenever, wherever, is desirable and enables a cultivated perspective on any given concept.  Some would also argue, as I learned a few semesters ago in an introductory political science course, that the constant availability and accessibility of information complicates the decision-making scene.  My professor expounded on this point by asserting that computer technology is powerful in making barriers and filters stronger and higher (more of a selective, intentional, purposive process) and in turn keeps many users limited to their own viewpoint, because we only seek out concepts we can “grok” if you will.

I cannot decide which viewpoint I believe and I think it truly depends on the user and relates back to the idea of how our education system is designed.  Students who are only concerned with the grade, who only seek out the answer rather than value the process, will most likely filter out foreign ideas and concepts where as students who truly want to learn and become more educated on a truly useful  and applicable level, will seek out concepts that present a challenge, that engage innovate ways of thinking.

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One Response to Selective Computing: Good or Bad?

  1. Jordan Jacobson

    While reading this post, I could not help but think of the mini debate Ben and I had in class on tuesday. It is very interesting to think about whether or the internet expands your knowledge and gives you different view points or if it just reiterates what you think because you only search for that. This topic not only scares me in politics and our two parties becoming increasingly extreme, but also in the innovation of our generation. After hearing Ben discuss how the internet can expand on our questions and curiosity (I assume that was one of the basic concepts we decided was the motivation for continued learning while in class), I went to my roommate and gave her the same question- does the internet expand our curiosity and creativity by feeding off of others, or does it limit our personal intellect by only showing us what we want to see or by rejecting new ideas due to overwhelming research already done on the topic? Her answer seemed to be a combination of the two, which makes sensse, especially after talking in class on tuesday. How you use the internet really depends on the person. I think that it also depends on the context of what you are doing. On a graduate level, Ben probably uses the internet for research and to develop questions about a world that I cannot even fathom. (I find the divide between undergrads and grad students to be increasing rapidly in my mind as I take this class- I have no idea what they’re talking about half the time! I hope one day I can be that knowledgable and can give some tiny undergrad an ounce of what I feel when I listen to them talk) Anyway, in contrast to Ben, I tend to look to the internet for specific facts and also for communication. Mostly communication. I have become increasingly interested in social media, and after watching the 1968 Demo and learning even more about the logical way of tihnking through hyperlinks, etc. I feel that it makes constructing what to post, how to post, and when to post much more comprehendable. I am excited to see the future of social media and the future of the internet in education. Do you think education focuses more on developing curiosity through the internet or simply answering questions?

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