Sunday, August 10, 2008

Just about finished reading The University of Google

I picked this book up because it seems to be about the sociology of the Internet. It was in the educational books section of the U of O library. I found the book browsing the new book shelves. The author, Tara Brabazon says sociology of the Internet needs to be supported by media studies and history studies.

The book did teach well about education. She does seem to make her points with only Google and some of these points could be made with Yahoo too. She questions how we define globalisation and says this term is used by many with different meanings at both ends of the communication. Also, the term globilisation is used by different ideologies.

Her coverage of the Internet is not so repetitive and boring as many early Internet books by academics. She includes an argument found in the thesis of Lessig's Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and applies this argument in her analysis of national cultures and diversity and sharing across cultures claiming Google brings views of only the US Western world view of the rest of the world through the WWW.

A significant point is that teachers now must work hard to be available to students 24-7 but I think she misses that mature students like myself are also being scholars 24-7 on our computers. But the point is well taken, because of the Internet we all work too hard. Also because of the Internet there are vast exclusions of knowledge and this has all developed just after advancing capitalism has made huge gaps in income though the 1980's and 1990's. This point I get because I have been poor for all this time. She makes a point of showing that there are few jobs for the educated in our society, yet there are more persons in university these days than there ever have been. Perhaps this is a larger middle class but with no wages and no jobs waiting for all that education. She makes some very good arguments about the use of higher education vis a vie working and the perversion of education by commercial interests. So education must be a business and accountable and no longer publicly funded. This is the final death blow I figure unless I can get funding.

One chapter argues well against power point lectures and she talks well of the art of lecturing and oral auditory nature of this art form. A few chapters later she derides the new medias convergence with creativity and old school art. And this fits one of the themes she points out that the old and new is not a good dichotomy for improving education in the age of Google. She also say the blame is not with Google but is more historically set in the context of Western colonial capitalism which makes her a deconstructionalist. She also finds some fault though with post-modernism which I find refreshing after my exposure to post-modern criminology studies.

One statistical point about her arguments on development might be made here. She compares the amount of money needed for basic medicine for the worlds people who do not have basic medicine with the amount of money spent feeding pets in Europe and Japan. So this then infers it is people v animals in terms of spending. This is a bit like cake or bread numbers. Cosmetics v clean water and an old flame source for heated debates.

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