Saturday, May 29, 2010

iPad and iPhone: The Bastard Postmodern Grandchildren of the Speak & Spell

I am in the midst of revising an article that chronicles the intellectual history of "reform" in educational settings. Consequently, all sorts of half-baked suppositions swirl regularly in my head. However, I think I'm on to something here. Seeing as how "reform" and "innovation" are potentially different sides of the same coin I am going to make a seemingly bold claim.

The intellectual prototype for the iPhone (and iPad) was the Speak & Spell.

Now, you probably are re-reading the previous line that includes the phrase "half-baked", but hear me out.

I don't mean to say that the technologies of Texas Instruments' Speak & Spell and Apple's iPhone/iPad are in any way related or intertwined. But, I do mean to claim that the the social and intellectual conceptualization that enables us to view, understand, and revere the iPhone/iPad---the intellectual history if you will---germanated within the historical era of the Speak & Spell. Because of the paradigmatic technogical shift and shift in thinking about learning and communication as play that occurred with the Speak & Spell we are able to see the iPhone/iPad as the appropriately magical and desirable product that it is. We were sent down an epistemological trajectory that primed us for iPhone/iPad affinity.

Gotta go tend to my mac and cheese.

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