Trent Batson of Campus Technology posted an interesting article last week entitled Paper-Based Materials Distorted Ways of Learning that argues that digital materials, as they disrupt previous models of teaching and learning, are actually restoring older, more organic ways of learning, including the original concept of the Socratic method:
Why did we develop a default learning model and beliefs so contrary to current reality? We had adapted to what we could do over the whole time that we had only analog materials to work with. A student writing a paper on paper had a hard time showing that paper to the rest of the class, so, over time the natural collaborative learning style popularly known as Socratic became distorted by the limitations of analog materials. Collaboration was no longer the norm. Humans had lost something.There's a lot of food for thought and fodder for debate (including ye olde laptops-in-classrooms debate) in the article, as well as some questions for educators to ask themselves to help evaluate whether analog or digital methods are more appropriate and effective at achieving the goals they have for their students.