At the conference Netlearning 2006, we are – in an excellent lecture by Terry Anderson – asked to be skeptical against lectures….”if one thinks a teacher’s job is to dispense information, then teachers are obsolete”…..but we are also asked to be skeptical against his own lecture.During the conference talks the room is lit by the blue light of scores of computer screens as the audience are following, and contributing to, the Internet chat about its video-streamed version. Yes, I have followed this at other occasions, either being ”inside” or ”outside” a conference or seminar. The new here was that the participants actually present in the room felt they had to get connected not to fear being ”outside” although they technically were ”inside” (or were they? This is like playing a game of Go).
Likewise, in an interview sent during the conference, with Finnish researcher Yrjö Engeström questioned if it is meaningful today to make a difference between “real” and “virtual” – as he said this in the studio, he commented whether the interview was “real” or “virtual” – and viewing this, we could not quite know how real the show we saw really was. Which I guess proves him right?
Highlights during the conference were the provocations by Elza Dunkels and Wim Veen about the net culture of a new generation. However I could not help thinking of us in the audience as inhabitants of a doomed planet trying to grasp life on another celestial body by sending out anthropological observers, searching informants among friendly natives. To what benefit for the galaxy?