Monday, January 17, 2011

Plato's invention 

The story of Socrates and the slave boy in which the latter learns some basic geometry has an almost iconic status amongst educators. It is a key illustration of the Socratic method in which the questions that the philosopher asks illuminate the boy's understandings as he draws abstract shapes on the sand with a stick. Attention is usually fixed on the way in which Socrates coaxes understanding out of the learner but what if we broadened our focus? If we did I think we would have an early glimpse of educational technology in which the surface of the sand prefigures the slate, the page, the board or the screen and the stick the stylus, pencil or keyboard.

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