"To inspire them to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life."
-John Coltrane on Uplifting Others

Friday, April 16, 2010

Review for The Talmud and the Internet

Recently for my postmodern literature class, I read The Talmud and the Internet: A Journey between Worlds by Jonathan Rosen, and I found it fascinating. In it, Rosen discusses the similarities between the Talmud, a collection of rabbinical discourses expanding across centuries about the written word of God, and the Internet, a massive beast of information that spans the entire world. For Rosen, the two entities encompass the idea that truth does not necessarily have a physical center. For the Jews, the physical center -the temple -was destroyed, but they have the word, which has been passed on. The Talmud represents the transition from the people of the temple to the people of the word. Similarly, the Internet gives us an example of the great paradigm shift, from physical centers of information and knowledge (books, libraries, universities, etc.), to a democratized virtual centers of information (Wikipedia anyone?)
As I read the book, I couldn't help but think on this class, and what I have to do as a teacher. The question that pervades in my mind is "Where will I center my classes?" Kids learn in a different way than I did in school. Should I stick to my guns, and force them to research solely in libraries? Or should I allow them the liberty of using sources from the Internet?
I believe the best path here is in the middle. Kids should learn to find reliable sources off the Internet, from JSTOR to blogs (like this one, perhaps?), but also they should learn the value of libraries, and finding that book. But enough from me, what do you guys think of this?

No comments:

Post a Comment