[tei-council] definition of "genetic editing"

Stuart Yeates stuart.yeates at vuw.ac.nz
Fri Apr 15 17:56:07 EDT 2011

Piotr wrote:
>On 15.04.2011 23:13, Stuart Yeates wrote:
>> Lou Burnard wrote:
>>> On 13/04/11 15:56, Stuart Yeates wrote:
>>>> I searched on google and couldn't find a definition in the first three
>>>> pages of hits. If it's not on google, it doesn't exist as far as I'm concerned.
>>> Can we quote you on that?
>> Sure you can.
>> It may be more effective to say "If it's not on google, it doesn't exist as far
>> as your students are concerned."
>That's one of our headaches when teaching Information Technology: how to
>make sure that we do not help breed google-minded students, especially
>if they are to become linguists. A tough task indeed.

Critical evaluation is critical evaluation, with papyrus or digital documents. Being "google-minded" is merely giving up on trying to understand and analyse a set of documents, removing them from one's critical view. 

If I were trying to encourage critical thinking in linguists, I'd start with a really interesting set of documents to motivate them and then systematically analyse the assumptions in there. 

For example http://indigenoustweets.com/ makes the following assumptions:

(*) they have survived into the modern era
(*) they have writing systems
(*) the writing systems are alphabetic 
(*) the writing systems have made it into unicode
(*) the relevant portions of unicode have actually been usefully implemented
(*) language speakers have access to those implementations
(*) language speakers have access to computers
(*) language speakers have access to the interwebs
(*) the language has a language code
(*) the language is sufficiently different from other languages to be statistically distinguishable in 140 characters
(*) the content of each tweet is public in at least some sense

In my experience of teaching, finding sufficiently interesting examples to engage student's interest and critical thinking is very important. Particularly if, like me, you're on the sciences side trying to teach this stuff to humanities people.


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