Woz to educators: “be brave, use the new technology”

Steve Wozniak in great inspirational form discussing a very straightforward, pragmatic and obvious approach to education which is hard to argue with. It is, as he observes, very very far from the norm.

The interview ends with a few comments on the much-maligned Apple Newton which make me wonder a bit – the idea was to make the computer do the work for you but one of the more memorable things about the Newton was the high failure rate in how it interpreted what was written on it. This is a big risk in hardening technologies – the more the computer does for you, the fewer decisions you need to make, the more control the programmer has over your life. This is particularly bad when the programmer fails but, even when the program works as it should, we need to be acutely aware of how our work is being shaped by the design of the system. I think a big difference between the Newton and the iPad (which he also mentions) is that the iPad gives much greater control to the end-user, not at an individual app level but in the wide range of apps that may be selected. The problem becomes one of finding the right app, not of battling with the machine which is, of course, still quite a big problem. But it is a problem that is soluble by ordinary mortals, not programmers. And that is a big difference.

Address of the bookmark: http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/03/woz-to-educators-be-brave-use-the-new-technology.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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