Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cusping Things

1. In the introduction to our weblog it was suggested that because of Web 2.0, “Anyone can learn anything, from anyone, anywhere, at anytime”. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? If you agree, then what role do schools and formal education play in your learning? If you disagree, then what gets in the way of learning?

I agree with the statement “Anyone can learn anything, from anyone, anywhere, at anytime”, as a general statement. I think there are exceptions but that may be because I have not taken advantage of the internet completely. Since the internet does have the ability to screen people and hide them behind pseudonyms, how can anyone really trust anyone else? The human relationships that are built with face to face contact have a substantial and real feel about them. The relationships formed online though are doubtful. That lack of commitment on the internet reminds me of one of the reasons I enjoy school, the relationships, saying "hi" on the path, seeing people you know and care about. The internet doesn't give you that. I don't think it ever can. The commitment of being somewhere at a certain time and place to be with certain people and interacting on many levels is something that I don't think the internet can ever achieve. School is not only social though, I think that in school I understand most concepts and difficult problems through my peers. When they show me a problem by going over each step with me, I learn. This is something that the internet can have as well, but if people were not interacting in this way in the real world, then they would not know how to communicate on the internet. Motivation and competition are more qualities that school holds over the internet. Without the beginning nudge from our teachers I doubt that I would research what I do and if my peers weren't there we would not have vocabulary competitions in Spanish. All in all I feel that the internet can be anywhere, for anyone, at anytime or place, however if we do not hold up the day to day interactions that we have with each other we would lose a great deal.


  1. Beston,
    You make a compelling argument for education as a social activity and I agree with you. Without face-to-face interactions each of us becomes isolated from the vitality of daily life. These interactions bring out emotions: joy, pain, frustration, anxiety, laugher ... that make us feel alive. This is why, at best, the cyberworld can only complement the learning we get from each other. Thanx for the thoughtul post!
    Cheers, Bru

  2. I think you make a few thoughtful and interesting points in this post. First, you ask how we can trust anyone on the internet, because of its ability to screen identities. Indeed, there is a lot of information on the internet that should not be trusted, and so part of using the internet is learning how to navigate around the useless and distracting information. Another thing you brought up were the factors of motivation and competition. These factors obviously exist in school, but are much less prominent on the internet. I agree that I need motivation from a teacher in order to learn calculus, or physics, or Spanish, and we can also be motivated through competition with other students. But on the internet it has to be self-motivated, we are competing against ourselves. Perhaps though, if we are self-motivated to learn something, we will be that much more persistent and willing to learn it. The great thing about the internet is, whatever it is I'm interested in, I can learn it, anywhere and anytime, without having to rely on anyone else, besides of course whoever it is that invented the internet (not Al Gore). Lastly, I like how you brought up the social factor of school. If we all sat inside by ourselves and learned everything on the internet, people would all be boring and so would our lives. The internet is a valuable tool, but I agree with you in that more than just the internet is necessary to learn.

  3. Beston,

    In one of my education classes, we've been reading Vygotsky, a scholar who argues for a situated, sociocultural model of learning. He writes about the fact that speaking is actually part of the problem solving process. He discovered that certain children were unable to complete a task when they were not allowed to speak. Then they were able to reason through the task successfully when they were allowed to speak. Do you think this supports your argument for social learning? Or can learning through the internet also support this type of learning through speech (i.e. writing about your ideas online)?

    Very interesting thoughts! Nice work.