, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 307-313
Date: 22 Feb 2013

Technologies of Education: Classrooms and Chat Rooms, Scalpels, and Screens

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Norm Friesen’s The Place of the Classroom and the Space of the Screen is an excellent example of the practical value of phenomenology. Through careful analysis of the experience of online and real-world education, Friesen draws out the sometimes subtle and sometimes gaping differences between these two educational contexts. In what follows, I identify some of the central arguments he develops, revisit a debate that he and I have maintained over the topic of computer-simulated frog dissection, and consider the relevance of Friesen’s insights for emerging issues in education.

It is often assumed that traditional educational practices can be replicated in the ‘virtual’ context of the computer. This assumption can be challenged by critically contrasting practices that take place in real-world classrooms, on the one hand, with those taking place through the medium of the computer, on the other. Friesen sets out to show that the virtual context transforms education in important ways, providin