If I had a million dollars, I'd build you a school.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wyoming Catholic College School for Ostriches

Yesterday I talked about One Laptop Per Child's effort to get technology to as many children around the world as possible. On the opposite end of the technology spectrum is this NPR story about Wyoming Catholic College. A brand new college, whose inaugural freshman class is just finishing their first year, Wyoming Catholic College does not allow cell phones or television, and the students there have limited Internet access. The school offers a classics oriented curriculum, including an immersion program in Latin.

Anyone who has been following this blog will know that I am all for a solid foundation in the classics. I also believe strongly that immersion is the best (maybe even the only) way to really learn a language. But seriously folks, Latin immersion?

Learning philosophy, especially logic, is good. Learning rhetoric is good. Reading Plato and Aristotle is good. Do those things really have to come in opposition to cell phones and TV? College is already a strange bubble that often keeps us separated from the real world, a bubble that many of us are reluctant to leave when the time comes. Making that bubble all the more insular seems escapist at best.

The young woman being interviewed for the report doesn't do much to sell me on the benefits of the program. She claims she wants to be an emergency room nurse when she grows up. How many nursing schools are going to be excited about a student who has spent more time on Plato than on biology, and more time discussing 2000-year-old political theory than keeping up with the latest technological developments? My guess in not many.

On the other hand, the fact that she and her friends are able to make plans together without the use of a cellphone seems like it will come in handy when Armageddon comes.

Are you looking for an escape from the technological rat race?

1 comment:

michael said...

hey. i enjoyed your salty view of wyoming catholic college--and just to let you know, the students make fun of it too.