to the 5th International Conference on New Educational Environment
May 26-28, 2003, KKL Lucerne (Switzerland)

1. "The human factor" in the post-technocratic society
Living in a technically and technologically ever growing environment, man found himself assigned to a role of unusual importance. This can be linked to the central moment of any process: the decision making. The individual doesn't entrust the machine, or better the computer, with the right of making (final) decisions. It's a natural fact, for we have nobody to rely on: whatever successes cybernetics might have achieved, it wasn't so far in sphere of creating cyber intellect. Computers are most of all just good at executing routine-like, laborious procedures and they are very rarely useful for creative tasks, which man himself is still directly committed to. This is one of the most important features in today's state of the art, where man still is living in the primitive computer era, where the computer in total dependency slavishly is submitted to man. It is also clear that the weight of final decision making is growing, in the context of an astonishing rapidly worldwide spreading network.

2. "Weak place" in the information environment
If old, forgotten abilities will not be recovered or new educational methods will not be developed, then man will become the "weak place" in today's arising unified information system. The speed of changing reality (and information environment as it's part) is nowadays exceeding the human capability to deal in time with this changes, even his capability to deal with the newest tools he needs to properly navigate in the modern world. In the 20th century, maybe for the first time in the history of civilisation, man lost control over time (whose fly-wheel in fact he untwisted himself). We are faced to a learning process of longer duration, because all innovations starting from washing machines, cellular mobile phones and DVD, over computer applications such as "on-line banking" and "on-line shopping", towards a new language, new ways of social contact, behaviour and selfperception, are demanding from man much larger amounts of time. It was no accident that almost everywhere in the European countries the 12 years school education system was introduced, which then further continues at universities and higher educational institutes. In Russia, for example, children from 5-6th classes are – all day long – having each day up to 7 to 8 45-minute lessons; taking into account the burden of school programmes and homework, one can state that 12-13 years old children are faced with a workload for adults, excluding them in fact from leisure time and childhood. And all this in order to produce a modern citizen, an individual able adapted to the requirements of modern life. On the other hand, such a speed of reality change will lead to an accelerated "rotation of generations". More and more people, will at a les old age flee into escapism, choosing for some particular tiny layer of reality and excluding all other (information) layers from their lives, unable to keep up with all occurring – even important – events. This, logically, entirely corresponds to a total refusal of the information element in the presence of an overload of active information systems.

3. Loss of tradition. Personal factor in the educational question
The massive using of computer technology in educational systems is, together with definite pluses, characterised by substantial minuses, such as the loss of the traditional "teacher-pupil" relationship. Up till now this tradition has been remarkably strong in the Russian classical school: the personality of the teacher played a paramount if not a decisive role. Very many and maybe just all crucial moments in the educational process have always been based on the personal contact, because in the Russian educational practice not only teaching or knowledge transmitting was important, but also how to do it, that is: education gave answers not only to "what?" but also to "what and how?". This was linked with the understanding that application of the acquired knowledge produced a significant imprint of the original form and situation in which the knowledge was received. And here it was that the teacher's person was put forward. Modern educational techniques, even ones that produce quasi-contact throughout internet, are chiefly leading to a process of selfeducation with teachers executing some consulting and control functions, whereas the process itself is reduced to a mere transmission of information that will be handled further on by a student independently.

4. Internet and relationship. Surrogate contact
The problem of relationship in the cyberworld goes beyond the educational domain. It has to be made clear that, up till now, all kinds of intercourse facilities on the internet don't by far represent "reality", recreating it in an utmost waning and fragmented manner. It can be put forward that, how sophisticated in the future new developments of models might become, technology will not succeed in creating a true, lively intercourse. And the more closely such an relationship imitation will approach its goal, the more it will in essence deviate from it. A productive paradigma of technological development in this field should be the idea of preserving interaction of individuals in the absence of other means, and not replacing reality. The latter, understanding the ever growing amount of time people (especially youngsters) spend on the Net, produces substantial social and communicative disturbances within the individual: it becomes more difficult to find a common language (although the Internet, from the linguistic point of view, is probably the most democratic system, which undoubtedly is an advantage), to make new acquaintances and to stay out of loneliness and isolation. And all this just happens because the intercourse experience from the Internet and other virtual environments is hardly applicable to daily life, that means not valid for it.

5. Global unification. Extinction of ethnocultures
The global network produces worldwide common standards. It can, also existing on a national intranetwork level, transmit itself to other cultures. However, the impact of each separated culture on the whole network cannot balance the counterforce of the worldnetwork. And this impact is defined by such characteristics as unification and standardisation. IT-products on the international market are characterised by lack of ethnicity and national particular features. Although even here a natural, speciality-related information selection is taking place, national attributes stay in the fore or can be highlighted, as for instance on tourism websites, national internet-galleries and so on. These attributes however refer to the contents, rather than to the form of information as such. It is the attributes of information that are being unified, which is reflected in the structural and graphical design of IT-products, unification of fonts and languages. In fact, having been working with one or another portal and large site, we very rarely could trace the links to the national identity of it's developing and owning company.
It should be also mentioned here that at the outcome of the 20th century enormous differences in degrees of civilisation became apparent with the various nations and countries of the Earth.
At the very beginning of the 21st century, the world has been witnessing that barbarity is not defined by the availability of technological equipment of a society, but is rather linked with its unwillingness and unability to listen and strive towards solutions with opponents.

6. Digitalisation of perception
It is widely known that various types of human activities are mainly controlled by the different hemispheres of the brain. In this way, working with computers almost exclusively applies to the left hemisphere, responsible for logical thinking. Keyboard-buttons pressing and mouse-clicking, constituting the main basic activities at the computer desk, are so to say discrete actions unlike, for instance, handwriting and drawing, thus being little by little eliminated from practice by similar computer processes. It appears from this that a substantial increase of computer technology for educational goals can disturb the balanced development of the brain hemispheres and thus cause a change in perception as a whole. In particular phenomena and processes requiring logical interpretation and perception can occur more clearly, easily and accessible, whereas phenomena oriented towards the intuition and the artistic perception can be confronted with growing difficulty in their comprehension. This fact needs to be taken into account, especially with regard to the development of long distance learning systems, where the process must not be confined to the framework of sheer computer technology.

7. Aporia of the technocratic paradigma of the 21st century
Man invents technologies – technologies define human appearance. Thus it has always been. But the very 20th century, based of course on the preceding historical experience of technologically developing societies, provided man with everything he needs for a technology-supported scientific discovery of the world. And exactly nowadays, well equipped with this experience and all necessary means, man appeared to be out of control in setting the course of his own development and the character of perception of reality. In this way the technocratic civilisation is, through the use of a complete set of specific tools for knowledge acquisition, capable only of total selfrepresentation.

Dmitri Ivanov-Snejko