慶應SFC 2000年 総合政策学部 英語 大問1 全文(正答済み)

 Alan Kay: I’ll start by asking how you think the book has done as a tool for distance learning. I think the book, for that matter writing in general, is a pretty good technology.

 Neil Postman: Well, of course, I would agree. Reading a book is the best example of distance learning I know of. A book tackles the problems of both space and time. The teacher and the learner don’t have to be in the same place, and they can pursue their separate activities at vastly different times. But, I think you mean something more when you say “distance learning,” right?

 Kay: I think the book makes a good starting point because it was a great invention for distance learning. The disembodied nature of the symbols provides a different stimulus to imagination than face-to-face learning does. I think reading strengthens the ability to imagine things and deal abstractly. But, I ask, is there anything a new technology like computers could add? In fact there is; not a lot of things, but a couple of really important ones.

 One is dialoging, Socrates preferred method of learning. In a good essay, the author invites the reader to argue with him or her a little bit. But debate usually stops in scientific or technical essays when an author puts a formula in. Most people, even educated people, unless they know something special about the topic or the formula, are pretty much at the mercy of the authors claims. So it would be great if those mathematical symbols in a formula could lead into a computer simulation of what’s being talked about in the essay — if the reader could experiment as much as the author had. So the computer can provide an extra dimension in which people can argue more deeply with the author.

 Postman: I have no argument with that. As a matter of fact, when Socrates makes his case against writing, he says that one of its deficiencies is that you can’t talk back to the author.

 Kay: Especially if the author is dead.

 Postman: Socrates also says that writing forces us to follow an argument rather than to participate in it; and I think you see that all the time when a professor is giving a lecture. The students are all writing their notes, trying to follow an argument, and abandoning any hope of participating in the argument. So I think that interactive computer programs might be a good way of correcting this, because then the learner could participate in the argument. But, when people talk about distance learning, they have in mind something that would replace many of the methods of learning we now have, rather than add to them. So I have my doubts about how much computers will really change education.

 I always think of the longevity of the lecture method in use in most universities. In the 15th century, just before the invention of the machine-made book, a professor had the only manuscript of an author’s work. So of course, lecturing made sense. In the first fifty years after the invention of printing, more than eight million books were printed. You would think that the lecture method would have disappeared. Why should we have a professor standing in front of a group of students who could all read the same book that the professor had? The odd thing is that at New York University, this very day, probably 95% of the instruction is through the lecture method. So I have to ask why, after 500 years, were still using a method that ought to have become obsolete through technological development.

 I don’t know what the answer would be, except that there is some power in the oral tradition and in the fact of compresence which facilitates learning and makes it into a certain kind of event that can’t be duplicated by technology. So I am Skeptical when people talk about distance learning as a future process that will replace the current methods of teaching and learning

 Kay: It’s possible that the label distance learning” is a bit misleading. To me, most of the real learning that happens doesn’t happen in a social situation. That’s only where you find out about things. Real learning happens when you go off and try out these new models that you are trying to build in order to comprehend ideas that you haven’t been able to deal with before. To me, almost all real learning is a kind of distance learning. Your more or less off by yourself.

 Also, I think a lot of people don’t fully understand the possibilities of the computer in education. The state of the art in educational programming is to take a subject matter that’s pretty cut-and-dried, and exhaustively deal with all the different situations that may come up. Then the computer can recognize all the different possible situations and answers. For example, the chief scientist at Xerox, John Sealy Brown, has come up with a subtraction program that could actually be of Some help because it can recognize enough of what the students were doing, and thereby, correct errors.

 Postman: Well, for me, the learning situation is at its best when human beings are cop resent, and one can see, hear and feel the full impact of each human being there. The power of a social group drawing on each other’s energy and strength is all part of what’s supposed to happen in a classroom. I think that when you have twenty people together in a room, who can see, and practically smell each other all trying to solve some sort of problem — there is nothing to compare to it as a learning experience.

 An interesting prospect of this discussion is that technology could lead to a broad change in the way people see themselves, much as the book did. In Elizabeth Eisenstein’s book, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, she ends a chapter by saying that the preprinting culture held narcissism in check, and the printing press released it. There is little doubt that the book created a sense of individuality and self that didn’t exist before.

 Kay: One of the things that Marshall McLuhan pointed out in Gutenberg Galaxy was that the sense of the individual Self in the Renaissance was somehow connected with the fact that you could take a book by yourself under a tree and think your own thoughts for the first time.

 Postman: So the question arises whether computer technology will further enhance the idea of individuality. Perhaps, in this context, individuality may even become a psychological problem, because it would lead to an idea of learning, and even schooling, as a strictly individual matter.

 Kay: That might happen if computers weren’t connected to the Internet. After the Internet caught on we found that by far the most popular things on the Internet are what you might call tribalization mechanisms such as chat rooms, forums, virtual spaces, where people could find each other. So there are enormous numbers of people doing what you might call “clubbing.” I don’t call them communities. I call them clubs of people of similar interests; and these constitute something that looks a lot like McLuhan’s “global village,” but more divided and fragmented. Not a “virtual community,” but a return to something more like tribalization.

 Postman: I very much like the idea that you use the word “clubbing,” which I prefer to community. I think we have to pay a lot of attention to the new words were using in the computer age. My point is that we need to pay attention to differences. When we talk about distance learning, we have to ask ourselves what are the differences between what we call “distance learning” and other kinds of learning. If we are careful about noting those differences, then we can make better use of these new technologies.




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