Property is Theft, Come on In

It’s (more or less) commonly accepted that our current education system– with the exception of the agrarian summer break– grew directly out of individualism, modern industrialization and the mass market. From text-books and scholarly journals to classrooms to standardized tests, private property, the factory, and mass production was the model, implicit or otherwise.

Piece by piece new communication technologies and shifts in our expectations about education have chipped away at the industrial model, replacing moribund individualism with a robust collectivism. We’ll probably always have schools, but learning and teaching can happened easily elsewhere too; one-dimensional assessment tools, like the standardized test, are slowly becoming obsolete.

The textbook too– as a relatively expensive and static, fixed object that remains unchanged for years at a time– is slowly giving way to wikis and collections of online materials. And the scholarly journal, with its equally static and expensive physical process, is step by step loosing ground to the open model, championed by people like Vitek Tracz. Resistance, as they say, is futile.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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