Courtesy of blog reader JM, we hear that Anna Platypus, Daniel Striped Tiger, and Prince Tuesday are debating whether they want to learn via a fabulous new educational technology, The Learning Machine, or whether they want to have teachers and field trips. “Lady Elaine was telling people that all they needed to learn anything” is the Learning Machine! Henrietta Pussycat is hoping for “Meow Meow Meow Field Trip Meow?” Scroll up to about 15:15 to the Neighborhood of Make Believe to see what they decide:
They must attend some kind of Quaker school or a Montessori, because the students are permitted such a large role in pedagogical decisions. (Then again, it is the Neighborhood School of Make Believe!) As that old enemy of progress Fred Rogers would have it, “You know, human beings learn best and most from other human beings. That’s all part of being human.”
As Lady Aberlaine sings, “Who would want a machine instead of a field trip?” It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive, it’s such a hap-py feeling, you’re growing inside. . .
10 thoughts on “The Learning Machine”
When that music started playing at the beginning, I started crying. Such memories.
I’m glad I’m not the only middle-aged person verklempt whenever I hear Fred Rogers sing.
How did we get from there to here? How? Really. How, how, how?
Prop 13 and “taxpayers’ revolts” + years of other disinvestment in public education + the internets = Welcome to the Learning Machine, at least for all of you proles who can’t get into and afford elite private schools.
I’d like to Make Real the notion of an entire community interested in what’s going on in their schools, in addition to being excited to help facilitate field trips for schoolchildren and otherwise support their educations. Too bad that’s mostly in the realm of Make Believe.
The world would be a much better place if there was more people like Fred Rogers… We had someone pretend to be Mr. Rogers for a children’s sermon recently, and NONE of them knew who Mr. Rogers was! That’s what really made me cry! I’m all for coming up with other educational programming, but you can’t convince me that children wouldn’t still watch Mr. Rogers… And Reading Rainbow for that matter! (you can tell I’m a child of the 80s)
Proposition 13 and verklempt, what will come next? I would treat Mr Rogers word carefully. Human lean from human but can we have an indirect connection. After all, philosophers don’t study with Plato.
Briefly, we should adapt technology to enhance education; we need better means than we have. Try to think of the machine as a human devised tool help, not hindering, to enjoy field trips.
The kind of machine *I* would have enjoyed learning from back then would have been something along the lines of a nineteenth century hand-cranked wooden cider press. A machine that actually *does* something, and that doesn’t start you off with a scrolling screenful of worthless knowledge such as “loading applications,” “verifying parameters,” “aligning utility modes,” ad nausemu. Who the EFF cares what a machine purports to be doo-ING while you’re waiting for it to actually DO something? Imagine if you got in your car and turned the key and a screen said “checking pavement variables,” “determining signage visibility factors” while you waited to hear that throaty roar from the engine? Any machine that doesn’t work too fast to have time to “talk” to you is going in the river where I am. So load Rogers and run the tape, just keep the ING stuff back in the trailer. If the geeks get to “speak,” the terrorists win.
Briefly, we should adapt technology to enhance education; we need better means than we have.
What is wrong with the means we currently have for education, and that have proven their utility over thousands of years?
“You know human beings learn best and most from other human beings. That is all part of being human. And we learn best from people who really care about us- people we really like.
It is you I like …it is not the things you wear
It not is the way you do your hair…but it is you I like
The way you are right now…the way down deep inside you
Not the things that hide you…Not your toys, there just besides you
But it is you I like…
Every part of you- your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new
I hope that you will remeber…
Even when you are feeling blue
That is you I like
It is you…yourself
It is you…it is you I like
And that is true”
Forgive me if I transcribed any part wrong.
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