Stager: Why Teachers Don't Use Web 2.0 - an historical perspective
Downes: Stager, Logo and Web 2.0
Gary Stager loves logo and knows what he is talking about. But when it comes to "web2.0" he shoots from the hip and there is a lot of spray. Moreover, there is some irony involved in criticising web2.0 so strongly in a blog post.
Stephen Downes has done some heavy lifting wrt theorising "web2.0". But in his response he either ignored or didn't understand Stager's logo philosophy and indulges in snide comments about "old-school" versus "new-school"
This is not a real debate, yet. It is two experts sounding forth on their favourite topics without taking the trouble to look deeper at what the other is really trying to say.
Here is my take on some of the issues
Both logo and web2.0 technologies are disruptive to traditional School. So Stager and Downes ought to be on the same side here, more or less.
I have studied Papert deeply but (sadly) not Illich or Freire. My impression is that they are all on about deschooling society. Both Stager and Downes are arguing for more political and social activism wrt to school reform and are critical of those who can't see this. Where is the difference?
Logo has a history, which is eloquently summarised in Stagers post. Web2.0 advocates ought to study and acknowledge that history deeply. Otherwise they will be blinded and trapped in the glitter of the present and not put it into perspective. But web2.0 in general is not about studying history deeply. It's the exception. Web 1.0 is almost as good for doing that.
Stager says that Papert was a deep expert leader. Downes says that you have to work it out by yourself with the help of your RSS feed. Both are right but who in the web2.0 movement has actually understood Papert and situated his contribution historically? Quite rightly, Stager is angry about that.
Objects to think with
Stager's point about "objects to think with" is important but needs further elaboration. Downes response is reasonable as a starter but shows no understanding of Papert's deeper meaning of this term
Should software be developed with children in mind (Stager) or is that not so important because we want to bridge the artificial School / Society gap anyway (Downes)? I think to answer that does require some study of the history of computing and educational computing software. Who is going to do that?
Downes has done heavy lifting here and so is rightly aggrieved at Stager's one liners. Needs more work. In general the "web2.0" response is not to read Downes theories, understand them and respond to them but just to keep on blogging
Tools and philosophy
Stager: "It is difficult to sustain a "revolution" when its goals remain unclear and the soldiers rally around the tools, not ideals"
Downes protests because he has done some significant philosophical work here. But since Downes rejects constructionism that's an ongoing debate that needs to happen. It would be a good thing if we had more debate about tools, philosophy and the human condition.
I think there is some convergence between Papert's philosophy (see invitation to immersion) and the more articulate "web2.0" philosophy (eg. blog of proximal development). But only some. At it's best web2.0 in education is mainly about Vygotsky and written language, whereas Papert is mainly about maths-land (logo) and science-land (LEGO logo). Both are important but the approach is different
More on my views about some of these issues here: a challenge to connectivism
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