History is Losing Itself

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"What then, does educational (especially literary) computing reduce?  This question, however simplifying it may appear, can still be answered: it reduces our possibility to empathize with those who are not using the same technology as we we, be they our less well-endowed colleagues or our historical predecessors, the texts' creators or their contemporary readers," (169).

So here is what Aarseth is saying in this chapter of Cybertext:  I suppose he is saying that because we have the ability to use computers (and e-books and such) as educational resources, we are not able to compare ourselves anymore to those who lived without it.  I actually never thought of that as the single answer to what that online technology reduces.  I would have said many different things like it reduces communication, hands-on experiences, working in a virus-free environment and so on.

However, reading around this passage, I saw where Aarseth was getting with this.  We are not able to relate to the original historical essence of books, such as the example Aarseth gives us, Pride and Prejudice.  He says that digital versions of this book are all different, especially depending on the computer system.  The use of technology is not all bad, for he gives the statement that "The use of technology, in effect, amplifies certain aspects of human experience and reduces others."

Well, this is a deep way to look at the advancement of computer education.  I never thought about the idea that learning online removes me from the history that I should be studying from actual books.  I know that I am still learning the subject, but am I really relating?  Can I actually relate to those people I read about when I am studying their history?  I think it's impossible to completely relate to history books but I think that reading books actually does help me relate better than online sources, maybe because the computer seems so high-tech with everything...sometimes I feel like books are just more reliable sources because, well, they are!


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