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Stephen L. Talbott

(The following paper was published in the March, 1997 Research Bulletin of the Waldorf Education Research Institute. This issue of the Bulletin has several other articles and reviews relating to technology and education. You can order the Bulletin by sending $4 to Waldorf Education Research Institute, Sunbridge College, 260 Hungry Hollow Road, Spring Valley, New York 10977.)

A video or CD-ROM brings to the classroom almost promiscuously rich vignettes from nature -- images and sounds that would otherwise remain unavailable to students. If the curriculum calls for nature studies, it seems just niggling and petty to suggest that anything is missing from the remarkable video footage available today. What more intimate and revelatory window onto nature could there possibly be?

But now listen to a true story:

Yesterday my eleven-year old son and I were hiking in a remote wood. He was leading. He spotted [a] four-foot rattlesnake in the trail about six feet in front of us. We watched it for quite some time before going around it. When we were on the way home, he commented that this was the best day of his life. He was justifiably proud of the fact that he had been paying attention and had thus averted an accident, and that he had been able to observe this powerful, beautiful, and sinister snake.