Re: Reforming Education

Jeff Davis (
Wed, 13 Oct 1999 14:01:32 -0700

"John Clark" <> wrote:

>I'm almost embarrassed to point out the obvious but the only way
>to tell a good teacher from a bad one is to see how well they

and Brian D Williams ( responded:

>Maybe hyperlearning is the answer, ...
>...hyperlearning systems are very cost effective as software...


Time to get outside the box. Time to throw away the old system entirely, and start from scratch with the new information technologies. The old system is flat out obsolete. It warehouses students, it indoctrinates them for service to the dominant elites, it bores them into clone-like obedience, and it channels vast sums of money into the coffers of the curriculum publishers and educational bureaucracy. It has become an economic and political sinkhole serving--quite naturally--those who control it, rather than its ostensible clients, the students and--in the case of young students--their parents.

Just as we see information technology transform other aspects of human activity, so must it logically transform education, which is even more fundamentally an information-intensive activity. The classroom, with its geographic, temporal, and numerical limitations is a dinosaur.

I had a thermodynamics instructor at SF State--I took thermo three times, once at Case Tech, once at Berkeley, and once as SF State--who was a flippin' genius of a teacher. (Thus fate provided me with the unique opportunity to compare instuctional efficiency at several institutions whose reputation ranged from world class to undistinguished.) Had his thermo class been put on CD rom and offered to THE WORLD, in competition with whoever else thought they had the stuff, not only would he have made a mint, but the understanding of thermodynamics by anyone on the planet who needed it as part of their educational repertoir would have been strikingly enhanced. Make this, across the full range of subjects, the dominant global paradigm in education and you will have schooling which does not stand in the way of education.

And it will happen, despite the inertia of the old paradigm,... because it is finally possible, and because people want it.

Life at school can be filled with wonder, rich in personal growth and interpersonal experience. The shared human adventure--teacher to student to student to teacher--will never become obsolete. Nevertheless, technology drives human progress, and none more forcefully than the technology of understanding.

Best, Jeff Davis

	   "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
					Ray Charles