In this recent article, Scott L. Newstok eloquently defends the face-to-face interaction that serves as the basis of the student’s learning experience. While I may not agree with every conclusion here, Newstok’s interest in student learning as the end that technology–and any other classroom practice–must serve is important. Newstok reminds us that these debates aren’t new and relate closely to our understanding of what education should be or should become.
What’s new and significant here is Newstok’s argument for “close learning” as something valuable in itself and something closely linked to the purposes of education more generally. We need educators that can articulate the purposes of education and the value that students bring to shared learning experiences, whether in the classroom or through emerging technologies.