Saturday, April 30, 2016

Virtual reality is child abuse

Filed under "rant."

On the windowsills in B361, plants continue to grow using little more than the collective breath of the lambs in my room and a bit of water, knit together using the energy from the afternoon sunlight streaming through.

Grown from a wheat berry by a child.

Not sure putting a seed in a clump of peat moss and vermiculite counts as maker space, but the back corner of the room is dedicated to just that. Seeds, trays, a few light banks, and a container or two of dead honeybees (for pollination) dominate one corner of the room.

Through the lives (and deaths) of their plants, children learn a bit about life, but not a whole lot about the colleges and corporations that, according to l'idée du jour, must be printed on this generation's collective mind, at least those stragglers in public schools who we feed with our myths.

And now we have this:

via Hindustan TImes
School districts are starting to use tools made by humans, for a human world, limited by human imagination, pushed by human profits. Our children can no longer see the stars, and are taught to fear strangers, fear others, fear living.

Authority figures are giving children a tool to "broaden" their experiences, yet keep them tethered to assigned desks in assigned rooms with assigned teachers herding them.

This is not education; this is institutional child abuse. It would be cheaper to let the little ones lick tabs of acid--at least the expanded "world" they experience would be their own, not the limited visions of code monkeys paid to make virtual worlds when they themselves have not yet learned how to live.

We have collectively lost our minds.....

Monday, April 11, 2016

Less than perfect

By S Zillayali, CC BY-SA 3.0 
We've forgotten how to be human--how else explain the maker space fetishism in our schools?

A 3D printer makes a blob of plastic, converting a child's imagination into something tangible, but this has always been possible if one can tolerate less than professional edges.

Folks post pictures of meals they've made on Facebook, as though feeding ourselves is some art form or Herculean feat--"Look at what I did!"

And meanwhile I am expected to "prepare" children for the 21st century, ignoring a biological being that has evolved as part of an intricate web for over 3 billion years, treating the latest turn of the century as some feat of numerology.

The story is the same has it has been for thousands upon thousands of years. We eat, we breathe, we drink, we reproduce, we love, we live, we die.

Grown by one of my lambs, classroom windowsill
We used to do this for ourselves, in the broad sense of community, for each other, with each other.
Most of us still do, despite the constant drumbeat of professionalism, of perfection, of systemic standards so that the pieces of made by me fits the pieces made by a stranger a continent away.

I'm OK with sharing my less than perfect life with my less than perfect neighbors chatting over less than perfect fence about things that have nothing to do with the perfect world we pretend matters.

I cannot imagine being a kid today....