Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Delphi e-Academy

Writing with stylus and folding wax tablet. painter, Douris, ca 500 BCInspired by walking the sacred way at Delphi, I suggest a portable green e-classroom. Idris Sulaiman asked if there are any Australian guidelines on Green Computer Labs. This got me thinking about the Green Learning Commons, back to a portable e-learning classroom I proposed previously.

Last year I visited the Delphi site in Greece. Walking up the sacred way I waited for a message out of the ether. It came in the form of a telephone call from Australia asking me about e-publishing. The caller asked of I was busy, I replied that I was walking the sacred way and Delphi. There was a long pause, as the caller worked out what I had said and what it might mean. But that was the only inspiration on that path.

The most evocative part of the site for me was about 1 km below the sacred way at the gymnasium. There is an old olive tree, stoa (covered walkways) and flat exercise area. This was where the ancient philosophers did their teaching. As I was walking towards the ANU this morning I could see the main oval under repair, alongside the covered gymnasium building and the cafe. It occurred to me that what happened here was much the same as at Delphi thousands of years ago. Even the tablet computers look much like ancient wax tablets.

Imagine propping a flat panel display up against the olive tree at Delphi, next to the teacher. Hand each student a wireless tablet computer, in place of their wax tablet. Leave everything else the same and you have the e-Academy.

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Friday, June 27, 2008


The Delphi site and museum is worth a visit in Greece. The modern town of Delphi is a few hundred metres up the road from the ancient site. After the noise, heat, dust and crowds of Athens, the town was quiet, cool and clean.

The Delphi Archaeological Museum was refurbished in 1999 and looks much less cluttered than many in Greece, with a few important pieces given the space they deserve. The museum is a little too prominent, intruding on the ancient ruins behind.

The most evocative part of the site for me was the gymnasium with the floor of the stoa (covered walkways) and track still recognisable.

In a sense Delphi has not changed its role in several thousand years, having started and remaining a tourist attraction, due to the location and fame. The sacred way is lined with the remains of treasuries where the pilgrim's offerings were stockpiled. About the only difference is that the offerings are now taken in the form of Euros and credit card payments.

Recommended: Sibylla Hotel, Delphi.

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