I’m in Italy and I have to say, I need to travel a lot more. When you go to bed in the evening and really feel refreshed of what you have learned during the day, you understand the importance of meeting cultures eye-to-eye. What an eye-opener. I’ve started to promote more the importance of physical lately in relation to virtual, especially in discussions about informal learning. Most effective informal learning I know is a mix of both, not just one or another.
One of the greatest inventions for learning though, are eyeglasses. Now that I’m in Rome, I can say the first recorded use of a corrective lens was by the Roman emperor Nero, who was known to watch the gladiators using an emerald. In common use, glasses first began to appear in northern Italy around 1280s. Also, the Chinese had their hand on this, having glasses in their possession around the same time.
What glasses gave to people around that time was even 20 to 30 years of more time to learn more effectively with tools of thinking (reading and writing). Imagine losing those abilities early on in life. I have glasses and I certainly would be much more stupid without.
Glasses are also one of the first cyborg technologies. Cyborg by definition is a human who has certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices. So when important bodily functions get replaced by technology, you turn into a cyborg. I felt too much human today without wifi access at the Bolzano Conversation ’07 as my “second brain” or “thinking prosthesis” was partly malfunctioning. Thanks god I had my glasses. Frankly, if I hadn’t my glasses, I would be unable to even utilize the computer effectively.
Life-long learning, right on your nose. Yeah.