Category Archives: origins


(Supplied by a Sub-Sub-Librarian.)


“Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is the notion that a person learns only the particular thing he is studying at the time. Collateral learning in the way of formation of enduring attitudes, of likes and dislikes, may be and often is much more important than the spelling lesson or lesson in geography or history that is learned. For these attitudes are fundamentally what count in the future. The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning.”

John Dewey, Experience and Education (1938)


“BlackBoard makes an inferior product and charges a ton for it, but if we reduce the conversation to technology, and [don’t] really think hard about technology as an instantiation of capital’s will to power, then anything resembling an EdTech movement towards a vision of liberation and relevance is lost. For within those ideas is not a technology, but a group of people, who argue, disagree, and bicker, but also believe that education is fundamentally about the exchange of ideas and possibilities of thinking the world anew again and again; it is not about a corporate mandate to compete—however inanely or nefariously—for market share and/or power. I don’t believe in technology, I believe in people. And that’s why I don’t think our struggle is over the future of technology; it is over the struggle for the future of our culture that is assailed from all corners by the vultures of capital. Corporations are selling us back our ideas, innovations, and visions for an exorbitant price. I want them all back, and I want them now!”

— Jim Groom, “The Glass Bees,” Bavatuesdays, 25 May 2008


“just searched google for “edupunk sucks” — no results. :)”

— digitalhumanist [Dave Lester]. “just searched . . .” 9 December 2008. Twitter.


“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us.”

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1845)


“”The main difficulty [in the automatic factory] … lay … above all in training human beings to renounce their desultory habits of work, and to identify themselves with the unvarying regularity of the complex automaton. To devise and administer a successful code of factory discipline, suited to the necessities of factory diligence, was the Herculean enterprise, the noble achievement of Arkwright! Even at the present day, when the system is perfectly organised and its labour lightened to the utmost, it is found nearly impossible to convert persons past the age of puberty, into useful factory hands.’ The factory code in which capital formulates, like a private legislator, and at his own good will, his autocracy over his workpeople, unaccompanied by that division of responsibility, in other matters so much approved of by the bourgeoisie, and unaccompanied by the still more approved representative system, this code is but the capitalistic caricature of that social regulation of the labour-process which becomes requisite in co-operation on a great scale, and in the employment in common, of instruments of labour and especially of machinery. The place of the slave-driver’s lash is taken by the overlooker’s book of penalties.

— Karl Marx, Capital (1867)


“As I talked to Jim, I realized that I do have a method, or methods, but in the spirit of those methods I’ve resisted writing much about them here. In my experience, the paradox of real school is that it’s extraordinarily powerful when it happens, and at the same time very fragile along the way. (Robert Frost on poetry: “The figure is the same as for love.”) As I try to get to the magic and guard the fragility, I try not to talk about either too much or too analytically. That said, and at the risk of talking both too much and too analytically, I also try in several ways to encourage the class (encourage=give heart) to blog as part of the journey to the magic.”

— Gardner Campbell, “The Reverend Asked Me a Question, Gardner Writes, 26 July 2008


“What is perhaps more important and useful, though, is the extent to which Wikipedia also preserves the debate and discourse around a particular subject. Two of the most important features that I point out to students when I teach them about Wikipedia are the history pages and the discussion pages. Unlike traditional archives, Wikipedia preserves not only its past representations, but also the discourse which produced the current entry. A strong example of this is the entry on global warming, which does a good job of dividing the controversy of global warming from the science on global warming. While the main page serves as a good primer to the science of global warming, students miss out if they do not also consult the discussion and history pages to understand how this article was produced. In prior models of knowledge, storing and recording important discursive histories was a less than transparent process; indeed, those functions were entirely unavailable. (Who decided that Pykrete was not important enough to make it into Britannica?) Now these features are relatively open to the public.”

— David Parry, Wikipedia and the New Curriculum, Science Progress, 11 February 2008


“But the humanist, revolutionary educator cannot wait for this possibility to materialize. From the outset, her efforts must coincide with those of the students to engage in critical thinking and the quest for mutual humanization. His efforts must be imbued with a profound trust in people and their creative power. To achieve this, they must be partners of the students in their relations with them.”

— Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970)


— Eric Faden, “A Fair(y) Use Tale” (2007)


“One other non-industrial institution lay to hand which might be used to inculcate ‘time-thrift’: the school. Clayton complained that the streets of Manchester were full of ‘idle ragged children; who are not only losing their Time, but learning habits of gaming’, etc. He praised charity schools as teaching Industry, Frugality, Order and Regularity: ‘the Scholars here are obliged to rise betimes and to observe Hours with great Punctuality.’ William Temple, when advocating, in I770, that poor children be sent at the age of four to work-houses where they should be employed in manufactures and given two hours’ schooling a day, was explicit about the socializing influence of the process:

There is considerable use in their being, somehow or other, constantly employed at least twelve hours a day, whether they earn their living or not; for by these means, we hope that the rising generation will be so habituated to constant employment that it would at length prove agreeable and entertaining to them . . . .

Powell, in I772, also saw education as a training in the ‘habit of industry”; by the time the child reached six or seven it should become ‘habituated, not to say naturalized to Labour and Fatigue.’ The Rev. William Turner, writing from Newcastle in I786, recommended Raikes’ schools as ‘a spectacle of order and regularity,’ and quoted a manufacturer of hemp and flax in Gloucester as airming that the schools had effected an extraordinary change: ‘they are . . . become more tractable and obedient, and less quarrelsome and revengeful’.”

— E.P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism.” Past and Present, No. 38 (Dec., 1967), pp. 56-97.


“”It’s not enough to bash in heads; you’ve got to bash in minds.”

— Captain Hammer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008)

Grounds for Departure


Though neither knows where lie the nameless things of which the mystic sign gives forth such hints; yet with me, as with the colt, somewhere those things must exist. Though in many of its aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright.

But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous- why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian’s Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind.

Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color; and at the same time the concrete of all colors; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows- a colorless, all-color of atheism from which we shrink? And when we consider that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues- every stately or lovely emblazoning- the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls; all these are but subtile deceits, not actually inherent in substances, but only laid on from without; so that all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within; and when we proceed further, and consider that the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of her hues, the great principle of light, for ever remains white or colorless in itself, and if operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips and roses, with its own blank tinge- pondering all this, the palsied universe lies before us a leper; and like wilful travellers in Lapland, who refuse to wear colored and coloring glasses upon their eyes, so the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospect around him. And of all these things the Albino whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?

— Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851)