Alan Kay speaks to nmfs!

I hope our whole class will see where one of Dr. Campbell’s New Media Consortium colleagues, Alan Levine, blogged about our NMFS and our Alan Kay Dynabook reading and Alan Kay responded; the two now have a bit of a back and forth going (how cool!). I’d like to highlight in Kay’s comment the idea that there was “an enormous “imagination gap” between the inventors of personal computing and Internet, and those businesses and entrepreneurs who wanted to exploit the inventions“. Kay’s claim suggests where our market economy and big business has gotten in the way of the computering we know today becoming what Engelbart and Nelson envisioned. we’ve spent more of our time this semester talking about the ways our computerings do live up to the imaginative sketches in the New Media Reader than wondering why we haven’t gotten to the levels the writers designed. maybe if we start thinking in terms of what is controlling our digital forward movement instead of “we the user”, we will contract the fervor of Nelson and learn the vision of Kay– (another line from his comment to Alan Levine:

What we were hoping for is the other rarer phenomenon, and that is the process of real education making us less like traditional humans and more like civilized humans. This can happen, and has happened in isolated cases, but as with TV the commercial forces are dominating — and they want cave people to sell to!


One thought on “Alan Kay speaks to nmfs!

  1. I could not possibly agree more.

    “Contract the fervor of Nelson and learn the vision of Kay”: that beautifully articulates some of my highest hopes for this seminar, hopes that have driven my work in these areas for since the first time I taught this class back in the summer of 2007 (can it have been only *three years* ago?). I’m thrilled by your post and especially by those key quotations from Kay. Once again, education comes to the forefront, as it always must if we are to recognize the gift and realize its potential.

    Alan Kay has a particular interest in several philosophers of education, including Piaget, Papert, and especially Jerome Bruner. I need to dive more deeply into Kay’s work in these areas. Even what I know at this point, however, reinforces the intensity and seriousness of the relationship between the visions we’re experiencing and the schools we want to build–or at least, those we say we want to build (another urgent conversation there…).

    Thank you.

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