On June 7th, 2016 we held an Oral History Workshop – How Education Made Computers Personal at Leuphana University (Luneberg, Germany) and online. The workshop was a collaboration between HCLE’s parent organization, LO*OP Center, and Leuphana University to capture more of that history and make it available to modern researchers.
Howard Rheingold (technology innovator, inventor of the term “virtual community”, editor of The Whole Earth Review, and participant in The Well) spoke on Counterculture, Social Media, and Edupunk Pedagogy.
The history of how computing changed education and learning, and how learning and education changed computing is more than the story of hardware introductions and institutional initiatives. As, Lee Felsenstein, observed;
“the 60s – 70s resonated with the counterculture of a search for personal control,
even through technology.”
And, as the motto of the People’s Computer Company stated;
“Computers are mostly used against people instead of for people,
used to control people instead of to free them.
Time to change all that…”
Much of the early EdTech work was dedicated to applying computers and computing to education and learning; and was done by people whose work challenged conventional institutions: innovators, educators, visionaries, and revolutionaries. Some of the work was recorded. But, much of their work wasn’t recorded because it was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, undocumented was safer than documented. Now is a good time to refresh our memories to make sure the information is preserved, made available to researchers, and archived.
There is an urgency to record as many of these oral histories as possible. The memories are perishable. The artifacts and documentation are easy for subsequent generations to dismiss without the right perspective. We are endeavoring to record those histories through the workshop, but also through a crowd campaign so many more voices can be heard. Howard, Liza, and Lee are as well known as many other EdTech pioneers; but there are equally useful stories to be heard from elementary school teachers, hobbyists, and self-taught students. If you have a story, pass it along. If you want to read those stories, visit the HCLE wiki (our digital loading dock while we built our virtual museum.) There are more stories to tell and hear. Thanks for participating.
For more of our videos from this and other presentations, visit our YouTube channel (HCLEMuseum).