August 16, 2012

Some thoughts on Rushkoff

Today I listened to this full interview with Douglas Rushkoff on Spark. Rushkoff's advocacy for everyone to understand code is something worth considering. There were three big ideas that I took from this interview. Perhaps not entirely new ideas but ones that were presented in a slightly new way. 

1. Being creators makes us better consumers

I know from experience that my time spent learning how to make movies has made me a more critical and also a more appreciative viewer. Knowing how something is made, even if we're not experts is valuable. In this case, Rushkoff shares how knowing programming and code even at a basic level will help us understand the technologies we use every day. When we realize how much time we all use this stuff, it becomes even more important than knowing the technical reasons but the moral implications as well. I remember in my Masters studies examining the question of whether technology can be neutral. I don't think it can and yet it becomes difficult to engage in that conversation unless you have an understanding of how it's designed.

2. We'll be  the last generation that understands digital and analog.

If you're older than say 30 you likely have the stories of the rotary phone, life before cable and life without the Internet. Our perspective becomes valuable as we see ourselves more more being engulfed in digital. This is not about being resistant but rather thoughtful users. There is really very little historical examples that can mirror the speed, pervasiveness and the influx of connectivity and digital on our lives. The example Rushkoff uses of Second Life is one worth discussing. 

3. Math instruction needs a makeover.

I love how he discusses long division as the first algorithm we learn. His advice of leveraging that moment to explore the real potential of these formulas is a doable and powerful idea. It reminded me of this TED talk by Conrad Wolfram.

I think this interview would be a wonderful talk to spur discussion among teachers. I pulled out these three ideas that resonated with me. I'm sure you can find your own. Go ahead and listen for yourself. 

 

[podcast]http://podcast.cbc.ca/spark/plus-spark_20111012_douglasrushkoff.mp3[/podcast]

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/webvisionsevent/5787414789/