Wednesday, 19 April 2017

chocolate-covered broccoli

Though I can’t claim to have had any direct experience with Oregon Trail (“You have died of dysentery”) and was quite fond of Carmen Sandiego (albeit mostly due to the later television game show adaptation with catchy musical interludes by Rockapella but I don’t think the edutainment software was terribly sustaining), I did enjoy this reminiscence and appreciation of the fusion of entertainment and education—described as chocolate-covered broccoli as that’s the resulting palate in most cases.
In elementary school, moreover, I do remember weekly visits to the computer lab to sit before terminals connected to a mainframe that cycled through some human-interest stories of made-up newspaper that I supposed tested for reading comprehension but none of it was particularly engaging. Once we matriculated to Computer Literacy class, outfitted with Macintosh IIe models that one could program and communicate with rival middle schools with a modem, things did rather grow interesting and our attention was rapt. I think people take for granted that conversation that they have with themselves once they resolve to allow technology into their lives and homes. The novelty, entertainment value of technology was a poor decoy for the recalcitrant learner, but its capacity as a vehicle for education comes out in the tinkering—like with the ownership that comes from working on a jalopy—and to find oneself confined within a world of bounded possibilities that makes risk-taking paradoxically less risky.  Fortune still favours the bold and awards those able to step outside themselves.