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  •                                  NETFUTURE
    
                        Technology and Human Responsibility
    
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    Issue #89      A Publication of The Nature Institute           May 4, 1999
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                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
    
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    
    NETFUTURE is a reader-supported publication.
    
    
    CONTENTS
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    Quotes and Provocations
       Globalism Means Living with Your Neighbor
       Tales from the Computerized Classroom
    
    Failure to Connect: Jane Healy on Classroom Computers (Stephen L. Talbott)
       Finding a rationale for the computer isn't easy
    
    I Wonder What My Brain is Thinking? (Stephen L. Talbott)
       `Brain' language and the disappearance of the self
    
    About this newsletter
    
    
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                             QUOTES AND PROVOCATIONS
    
    
    Globalism Means Living with Your Neighbor
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    One of the damaging notions that seems to have gained in currency along
    with the Net is that we can construct the most powerful educational
    experiences from what is foreign and distant.  This thought seems to lie
    behind the drive toward "multicultural education" via the Net, and also
    behind the love affair with rain forests and online expeditions to
    Antarctica.
    
    I have nothing against the foreign and the distant as such, but the
    sentiment here strikes me as dead wrong.  The truth is that the most
    powerful educational experiences come from what is nearest to us.  The use
    of the Net in pursuit of the opposite conviction often exemplifies the
    well-known contradiction:  "I love mankind; it's just people I can't
    stand."  The same contradiction could be put in environmental terms:  "I
    love nature; it's just the bits of it around my home I find rather dull."
    
    As I've pointed out before, if you really want to make Johnny a good
    global citizen, there's no need to check his folder of email from remote
    places.  Just observe which kids he doesn't get along with on the
    playground.  There's where your real educational opportunities are.
    
    We don't need to look further than the current tragedies unfolding in
    Kosovo to be reminded that there is only one challenge in the whole world
    regarding global citizenship:  it's the challenge of living with our
    neighbors.  To the extent we allow our digital networks to distract us
    from this challenge, we undermine the global spirit.
    
    
    Tales from the Computerized Classroom
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    Some interesting facts and quotations drawn from Jane Healy's Failure to
    Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children's Minds -- for Better and Worse.
    Healy's book is reviewed in the feature articles of this issue.  (Page
    numbers are indicated in parentheses.)
    
    ** Four of the ten best-selling children's CD-ROM titles in 1996 were
    marketed for children beginning at age three.  (20)
    
    ** A father:  "We bought our three-year-old this great computer, but all
    he wanted to play with was the box it came in."  (203)
    
    ** Li