Ethics and character education
© 2005
Jerry Garfunkel
172 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY 12498
+1 845 679 0121
should be woven into the fabric of all classes at all ages. Kids should be introduced to ethical dilemmas in the context of their own age.
Ethics exercises can be created
i.e. getting too much change from the grocer after paying your bill.
Contrast the feeling of getting away with it vs the feeling of giving back the extra $ voluntarily.

My five most valuable public school classes

© 2005
Jerry Garfunkel
172 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY 12498
+1 845 679 0121

My shift from pen/paper to keyboard/storage was profound (impact). I can never return to writing (composing) in longhand. My brain works too fast for pen and paper but not for fingers and keyboard. My seventh (?) grade typing class at Parsons Junior High School turns out, in retrospect to be among the 5 most valuable classes (measured by impact) I've attended.

What are the other four?
> Dr. Lloyd Delaney, Educational Psychology, QC 1967
> French Literature Summer I QC 1968, visiting British Associate Professor
> Abe Meyer's 7th grade math class Parsons Junior High School
> Mrs. Rebecca Emeric's 1st and 2nd grade classes at PS 164 in Queens,





Subtle Thresholds

There are wonderful examples just in my lifetime of technology causing both subtle and profound paradigm shifts:

email vs telephone/letter. we've exploited the subtle difference between the old way and the new way. It affects how we communicate and who communicates (the digital divide)

Internet access:
Immediacy of information
Immediacy of action-after-impulse (will require discipline to temper impulses)
Immediacy of response/reward/reaction - interactivity: gaming, shopping, learning, entertaining, living...

New Privacy issues are certainly going to arise. We are going to have to redefine "privacy" if there is to be any.

Subtle changes can make all the difference if we exploit those differences. First they must be exploitable. Not all are. The subtle differences I am talking about are the threshold points, on either side of which significantly different behavior/activity happens.

wireless puts the pc on our belly in bed or in the bathroom or on our wrists (now that's a novel idea)

broad-broadband puts the streaming internet into our lives and allows us to integrate the internet into all of our activities, naturally. (It is similar to integrating technology into our curricula - woven naturally, supportively). One can only imagine what activities will emerge in our daily lives, as a natural consequence of broadband access to the internet for everyone, everywhere. Perhaps it will become a public utility, paid for by our taxes.
Word processing changed not just the speed of input but the entire paradigm; the affects were, still are, great: hyperlinks, storage, revision, redeployment (re-use), distribution, multi-media content - audio/video, whatever is next - holographic objects perhaps as Mike implied. Broadband will spawn other new technologies; a new paradigm is just now being defined (and perhaps will forever be being defined. That is its (our) nature.

These technologies share one thing (among many); they each have one of these subtle "threshold" points, on either side of which significantly different behavior/activity happens.

Elliot Soloway (and others) discovered that there is a Size threshold. Perhaps, for Elliot, it is back-hip-pocket size, at which point one does many new, different things with such small devices because of the size. We exploit the difference. I assume he discovered that if these PDAs were to be really useful in the environment he has built, these devices must have a threshold of durability, as well as size. Perhaps that threshold can best be called pre-teen-back-hip-pocket durability. Elliot, exploits the subtle size and durability differences between his PDAs and even small PCs like Bette's Vaio(?).

Postscript noted in January 2006:
"Broadband created a tipping point," says Gerry Kaufhold, an analyst with the market research firm, In-Stat, who was quoted in the annual Forbes review of the Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show.  The "tipping point" is a term credited to Malcolm Gladwell, author (The Tipping Point, and more recently, Blink Think)

One man's "tipping point" is another man's "threshold."


Jerry Garfunkel - Southampton, June 2, 2004