Learning Goals

Two things:

(1) If I did not already have a long set of deal-making reasons why the iPad is a marvellous tool for work and more – see some of the things I said in a post or few last Summer (here, here, here) – there’s a new reason. The New Yorker on the iPad is wonderful. It is so beautifully laid out and feels like the magazine, and then, rather than just reproducing the magazine, it goes beyond it. It has been around for some time now, but previously you had to pay for the iPad app for it even if you were a print subscriber, which seemed utterly ridiculous to me. They changed this at some point, and now, you just enter your subscription details and you can get the latest issue, and every issue going back several decades. More things to read on the bus, without any extra weight to carry around. Hurrah! (Will this cure my New Yorker Problem? My inability to throw old print issues away? Make me get rid of all the issues I’ve received since I was a postdoc in the early 90s? Er… I doubt it…)

(2) There’s an excellent article, in the June 6th New Yorker, by Louis Menand entitled “Live and Learn: Why we need college”. It is available online (follow the link). I strongly recommend having a look at if you’re interested in education, and how we as a society unlock our potential, skills, abilities, or however you wish to put it. The article discusses the various issues about the actual point of college, and the different views people have about what a collage degree is for, how that view might have changed, and the forces that have shaped the debate over the years. There’s some nice contrasting of two main theories of college that is worth reading: Is it to sort out the sheep from the goats, i.e. some kind of intelligence test, and/or some means of helping sort people into the subjects they’re “good at” and then grading them, or…. is it a way of, as the author puts it (with my paraphrasing), exposing future citizens to material (and experiences and other people different from them) that enlightens and empowers them, whatever careers they end up choosing.

Have a read and leave a comment with what you think, if you like.


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2 Responses to Learning Goals

  1. Ele Munjeli says:

    It seems the longer I go to college, the more apparent it is that the selection is social, and financial, and not about IQ at all. I often see brilliant students struggle to trivialize their learning in order to fit a schedule or syllabus. I’ve gone to schools from the esteemed (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) to the lowly (West LA College) but the deciding factor for graduation is financial support and a willingness to go along with the program. That’s not necessarily IQ, or creativity, which is inevitably a sprawling polymathic affair, but a rather conventional nature. I only succeed in college because I’m rescued by teachers who make exception for my character (thank goodness their have been some). The article doesn’t even address the differences in education afforded to class- that rich people can get by with fewer practical skills and more great books.

    I wrote a paper about my studies at the LACCD this last year, and at the end of two semesters, I’m nearly at the point of thinking such education may be worse than nothing, not on paper, where it will always carry a significance as a selector, but in terms of the damage it does to thought.


  2. Clifford says:

    HI Ele!

    Thanks for your thoughts. I shall have a look at the essay.