Monday, May 23, 2005

Ender's Game and Education

circuit boardI recently revisited Ender's Game, a very decent sci-fi story, if somewhat unbelievable when it comes to child psychology.

I'd already read the book once, but that was back before I was a teacher. Back then, it just struck me as an enthralling story with plenty of plot twists. (I was once told that the art of writing a good story involves creating a character you like and then visiting hardships upon that character. Ender's Game does just that.)

But now I've been teaching for a few years and I have a lot more tech experience under my belt. When I went back to read the story one of the first things that struck me was that everyone had a computer.


Sure, the students called them "desks," but really they were tricked out wireless laptops. Even before Ender left Earth to learn in the high tech battle school it was obvious that the 1:1 student to computer ratio wasn't just present, it was expected. There were no books, save for the electronic files the students could access. The internet was still in it's infancy when the book was written, but Orson Scott Card had gotten a fleeting taste of it and imagined a world where students could find ways to communicate with the world over the 'nets. The anonymity of the internet was present as well, and in fact played a key role in the story along with self-paced life long learning.

So why am I talking with this? No reason, I suppose. I just thought it was cool that even in 1977 (the book's earliest copyright date) there were pioneers who were thinking about what computers could do for education.

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