The Chalkboard by Paula Barclay

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At the threshold of this brand, spanking, new millennium and with advancements occurring almost daily in the technological revolution, it seems appropriate to consider for a moment a more humble form of communication.

More than a century and a half ago, the chalkboard was heralded as a revolutionary educational aid that would transform teaching. In 1841 one admirer of the newly introduced chalkboard said, “The inventor or introducer of the system deserves to be ranked among the best contributors to learning and science, if not among the greatest benefactors of mankind.”

Robert Brightman ’73, Anthropology 473 “Nature, Culture and Environmentalism”

Enriqueta Canseco-Gonzalez, Psychology 393, “Psycholinguistics”

The tools of teaching have come a long way since then. Today classrooms exist without doors, without desks, without textbooks, and, in this age of telecommunications, even without teachers. Can classes without students, truly “virtual learning,” be far behind?

At Reed, we seek the best of both endeavors. We have one foot firmly planted in this technological revolution--we consider ourselves one of the best equipped colleges in the country and are embarking on construction of an educational technology center this May (see story on page 24). At the same time, our other foot is rooted in a very traditional honors curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences.

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