The Bigger, Closer Library

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The Internet is a bigger, closer library than the one Arnold Kling had in school:

When I was in college, I sometimes went to the library just to browse and learn. I might pick a book or journal off the shelf, read something, see a reference to something else, go read that, and so on.

From that sort of self-education perspective, the Internet is like that college library, only bigger and closer. I don’t have to go to the library–I just turn on my laptop or tablet. The contents are not confined by shelf space or budget. As an aside, there is multimedia (YouTube). Also, much more frequent updating.

One downside of the bigger, closer library is that it has many distractions.

I would emphasize those distractions:

The Net is more like cable TV than a library. Most people don’t DVR documentaries, even if infovores do; rather, they turn the TV on and let mindless entertainment wash over them. That’s how they use the Net, too.

Scheduled classes and discussions, libraries, and computer labs all strive to reduce distractions.

An effective school would reduce distractions.

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