Saturday, March 09, 2002

 

New blog. The first post is always the hardest, I think. Not a lot to refer to in the past, no sense of audience, or, actually, no audience at all. This blog is named for Vannevar Bush's Memex machine and the July, 1945 Atlantic Monthly article, "As We May Think," in which Bush describes it. When I first started reading about hypertext theory and computing in the humanities, theorists kept referencing two people: Bush and Ted Nelson. While I find Nelson to be entertaining, Bush amazed me. While the machine itself was never built, and would have been a clumsy mechanistic tool had it ever been produced, the theory behind the memex is sound. The Internet makes possible much of what Bush wanted to accomplish. Associational linking, a way to create, alter, build our own pathways through the vast quantities of information available to us. Every time I read it through, I find overlaps with something else: cyborg theories, rhetorical theory, even some links to one of my current projects, thinking through the importance of bodies in the writing classroom: the body of the instructor and the bodies of students.

bell hooks writes about the teacher as a disembodied mind in the classroom. The teacher's body, supposedly, does not matter, because it is the mind of that teacher and the knowledge contained within it that are important to the intellectual development of the student. hooks argues that the body does, indeed, make a difference: sensory impressions/stimulation are just as important to the learning enviroment as is mental or intellectual stimulation. To divide the teacher's body from the mind is detrimental to the students, but also to the teacher. This is in and of itself a somewhat challenging argument for many. Then add to this knotty question a digital element - what happens when the classroom is partially or wholly experienced online? I'm working through it myself. If I come up with *the answer* I'll be sure to post it here : )

- posted by laurie @ 3/09/2002 11:39:00 PM
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