Changing Institutions

I’ve been reading James Paul Gee’s book, The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning. Without diving too deep into how I feel about it, let’s just say it hasn’t been an enjoyable read for me. I find myself disagreeing with Gee a lot and struggling to find his point in the narrative. I haven’t finished yet, so I’m holding out hope that it will eventually improve. Time will tell.

The middle of the book is about institutions of thought and their tendency to become “frozen” in practice. Legal systems, city planning, and the QWERTY keyboard are all discussed, but Gee points to the stagnation of universities as his main point. Originally, they were places of religious training, then secular training, and now, research with schooling on the side. Yet, we talk about them as if they are still mainly places of education.

I’m in marginal agreement with Gee’s assessment, but I differ on the way to improve the situation. Local connections are absolutely essential to growth, and the Internet can help us create and maintain those connections.

Rather than posting the full text here, I’ve written it in a Google Doc which will allow anyone to comment in context rather than at the end of this post. Please jump over to get the big picture.

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