In advance of next week’s #beyondthetextbook forum hosted by Discovery Education, David Warlick has posted a good “fill in the blank” challenge on his blog: “The learning device(s) that our learners will walk into their classrooms with will be more like a ________________.”
After submitting “palantir” on his Google form I responded with a comment:
I’d offer up the “palantir” from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings as an apt metaphor for our next-gen learning devices:
It will allow us to connect and collaborate, and work for both good and evil. There will be struggles over the control of the device, but ultimately each user will need to muster the will, discipline, and skill to use it both effectively and well.
I’ve used “Palantir” as the SSID for our home wifi network for several years. I think it’s an apt and powerful metaphor for information access, collaboration, and digital ethics at multiple levels. In many ways, I think our Internet-connected mobile learning devices are already more like a “palantir” than a book. There was a HUGE amount of responsibility and care which went along with having and using a palantir in LOTR. One significant difference in this metaphorical comparison is that in Tolkien‘s world, there were only a few “seeing stones of Numenor.” In our modern digital age, there is no limit to how many can be and will be created.
What do you think of this metaphor? Do you agree with the statement, “Your next textbook will be a palantir?”
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