Simulating Education

| April 6, 2011
Ed Wood

Johnny Dep as Ed Wood

Sitting in on a presentation of “simulation software” for education, I was bemused by the performativity of the whole event. This seems only appropriate since the software itself was less a form of simulation—and even barely a form of software, as someone who knows these things pointed out—and more a “simulation of software.” I was part of a performance of the performing of educational technology.

I am reminded of the days of walking into my classroom to profess, and seeing the placard on the door, “Smart Classroom.” No longer—if indeed it ever was—a question of learning, or working on something, the space itself is wired. A fifty cent placard notifies me of the context of my own performativity. It’s enough to throw a person off.

Now I’m no Luddite, or old guard teacher. Instead, I take this to be pointing to the essentially simulated nature of education itself. We construct it’s futuristic interface out of remnants of the past. A placard on the door, a recounting of what we must have learned, some songs we learned in kindergarten, a map on the wall, a mock up of a virtual world. Education, we seem to be saying, goes something like this…