Friday, August 3, 2012
One of our colleagues, Kathryn Fehrman has written an amusing article on on-line learning entitled ACCLAIMED DOC SMASHES COMPUTER ON GENESEE AVE – PATIENT HEALED (PHOTOS AT 11); Learning at a Distance? (original title) Her key point is "Meanwhile, I feel like the fabled Little Dutch Boy with my finger in the dam, begging my students to understand that the practice of law, medicine, psychology and social work, teaching – most professions and services - are rooted in the field of human communication. How we share energy, how we relate to each other as human beings, is crucial to maintaining social balance and order as a community and civilization. How do we 'distance teach' human relationships?
While 'distance learning' may provide some benefits (which are obviously not the focus of this essay), it provides none of the depth, dimension, essence, richness, or graceful civil exchange central to our lives as human beings. It is useful in the realm of information, not relation. There is no wisdom in that manner of conveyance. And like Marshall McLuhan said, 'the medium is the message,' right?"
She also has an amusing story on how a doctor throws his computer out the window when he can't get it to work. Actually, a friend of mine had a similar experience. About two years ago, he needed surgery to have a tumor removed from his kidney. He was somewhat excited because the operation was being done with robotics. However, everything didn't go as planned. The computer crashed in the middle of his surgery, and the doctors couldn't get it rebooted. They had to finish the operation the old fashioned way. The operation took an hour and forty-five minutes longer than it should have, and the robotics were just sticking in his abdomen doing nothing for about an hour while they were working on the computer. (Of course, he was asleep the whole time.) My friend is fine now, but the computer crash probably extended his recovery period.
In any case, the point of this post is that education needs human interaction. Otherwise, it's just reading a book.