What I really found interesting in Dennis Baron’s From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technology was all the speculation that happened after a new technology emerged, how central it would be to our lives.
The idea that the telephone could replace the classroom, similarly to how a correspondence course worked (strictly aural learning–a nightmare for students who learn otherwise) was interesting, as were the phone-only jobs “hello girls.” What didn’t work for the classroom stuck around today, there are a lot of call center jobs were customer interface is still strictly on the phone.
Where the phone failed, the internet is trying to succeed in replacing or ‘disrupting’ the classroom with the Internet and the personal computer. Unlike the phone, because of visual, aural, textual abilities of the computer and the internet, online learning simulates a classroom much more. I think the idea behind it is that it allows for more people to access for information than can translate into marketable skills. But why is the social aspect of learning so under-appreciated? Why does technology seem to eliminate social aspects? Why is it when things become ‘easier’ they usually get ‘closer’ and less social?