Friday, November 26th, 2004
The cyborg teacher is now an ongoing project that pushes the idea that technology for the teacher has always been a critical aspect of communication and involvement in the learning process and asserts that fundamentally people have always been dependent on tools, connected to them as we are to our organs. To say “cyborg” is to stretch the definition for the purpose of implanting an image into the way a speaker, interlocutor, or politician uses tools without thinking of them as tools but as a “part of” what they do. In other words, when men get up in the morning they usually go for their pants, put them on, and then forget that they are wearing pants throughout the day. Are pants a technology. Generally speaking yes, because they are an extension of some aspect of the human body: integument. What is it is less important than what kind is it.
My friend Joe Rodriguez, who drives around in his wheel chair and can only get about the world in that contraption, and who also draws his delicate work with his mouth, is extended by tech. Technology extends him “into” the world. The world surrounds him through the technology.
The classroom is itself a technology that I would argue is a virtual space, designed, organized, enclosed, no different than a space comprised of bytes; the classroom is a part of a larger education system whose parts are cooected to every aspect of American culture: home to road. The teacher and the student walk “into” the classroom from some other place and erect the theater of the system as they go about their business. The teacher stands at the front of the room, the student sits, listens, and writes notes. If a student leaves the room, he or she will walk down the hall and look into other “rooms” in which others are pretty much doing the same.
This illustration of the cyborg is mearly a test, a hypothesis, a means of seeing, not meant to be factual. It’s meant to be pleasant, perhaps a distraction; it’s meant to invite a game into the picture: to create learning spaces just as virtual as the classroom. What is this learning space: Interactive Fiction, of course. In other words:
He’s short, has a strange glassy left eye, a little larger than the right (link to effects of stress). He’s wearing a blue shirt and green pants, both extensions of skin. He’s standing at the front of the room, waiting to be directed, asked, kicked around, like Nixon (link to Nixon). He’s got a little frown going under his nose (link to gallery of famous noses). He doesn’t look as if he’s ever combed his hair in his life, which is a lie.
He’s short et cetera.