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<nettime> Re: Re: New Media Education and Its Discontent
trebor scholz on Tue, 7 Oct 2003 00:58:33 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Re: Re: New Media Education and Its Discontent


Hey Ted,

...a few brief responding comments to your longish post.

In the US on the one hand we find undergraduate students under tremendous
pressure to find a job - self-imposed, caused by peers and parents. Then
there is the university that aims at high student number income. And in this
complex interrelationship- the instructor. The asserted 'us' versus 'them'
dichotomy, students vs. instructors is not helpful.

Technical skills are as crucial as as conceptual training, general skills.
An exclusive emphasis on software programs is extremely problematic as it
leaves out the history of the tools we use, the politics of these very
machines and the all permeating social context.

Amy Alexander in her response on the collaborative weblog Discordia
(http://www.discordia.us/scoop/story/2003/10/6/0332/15602)
also points to class implications of the critique of vocational skills.
I'm of course in full agreement that students need a secure job that helps
them pay off their student loans, get health insurance and not become part
of the increasing number of working poor in the US.  But- and I pointed this
out before- given the sad state of the US economy some students may not end
up with a job in "the industry." What are they left with if their education
does not go beyond teaching vocational skills which may become dated
shortly? Education needs to go beyond facts, critical independent thinking
is something that will help students in this post-dotbomb age against the
market odds. 

On Discordia, Amy Alexander points out that students a year or two after
graduation students realize what is missing in a corporate job and start to
appreciate the "engagement with culture outside of their employment." As
part of my high school education I had to work in a steel factory for a few
months. Amy suggests a work/service year, ie. a GAP year
 
The teaching of facts needs to be at the core of the curriculum together
with more general skills. It needs educators who educate people to think for
themselves, who don't just trot along. We need to provide students with
vocational skills, a passion for critical thinking, and a solid grounding in
the humanities. 

Having studied and taught in several European and American universities
my point is not that the grass is greener on the other side but that the
obviously different educational structures could use cross-fertilization.
With regard to education your rhetoric seems to promote the American
way as the best.

While the style of your text is characterized by the super-confidence that
has much in common with what drives the world to despair of America, it also
sounds a bit too much like "Europeans and intellectuals are old fashioned
anti-American snobs."

Trebor

=========================================================


treborscholz {AT} earthlink.net (Sat 10/04/03 at 04:32 PM -0400):

> New Media Education and Its Discontent

     there's something hilarious about the proposition that, were it not
     for andrew jackson -- author, they say, of the quintessentially
     all-american 'OK' ('oll korekt!') -- this country would be more
     inclined love its intellectuals. in the service of this theory,

 <...>

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