Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Confederacy of Dunces

"When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." -Jonathan Swift

The genius part is easy: Al Upton, in Australia and Jabiz Raisdana, in Qatar each used blogs as a tool to extend and enrich their students' classroom experiences. Both men were successful on a global scale, as people from around the world responded to, commented on, and emulated their projects.

Al Upton was served an Order for Closure by the DECS (Department of Education and Children’s Services - South Australia), which required that he shut down the miniLegends while the agency evaluated "risk and management issues." Jabiz Raisdana was forced to resign because of parental concerns about content on a personal site which was not directly linked to the school website.

Then, who are the dunces?

The DECS, Doha school officials, and parents in both countries acted in what they believed to be the best interests of the children involved. This certainly would not qualify them as "slow-witted or stupid person(s)."

Hundreds of educators responded to the situation with blog postings and comments. Is every single one of them "backward in book learning; dull or weak in intellect; a dullard; a dolt"?

The word "dunce" was originally applied to the followers of John Duns Scotus
. These scholars were scorned as being opposed to classical learning. Dunsmen or Duncemen eventually came to symbolize those opposed to any type of learning, or to one slow at learning.

Perhaps we are all dunces in the latter sense, slow to recognize the need for change, reluctant to move into uncharted territory, hesitant to commit to the systemic evolution/revolution our educational system needs to function well for our modern students in their modern wo

In the words of the immortal Pogo, "We have met the enemy...and he is us."

"The History of Five Little Pigs" from Project Gutenberg

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i aINT a robot