Thursday, June 7, 2012

You Are Not a Gadget-- Response

I want to start by saying how well the group did this week and congratulate them on such a successful presentation. In this post, I am going to reflect, not on something particular to this text, but on a common discourse about the uses/dependency of technology and where it is going in the future. I have heard countless numbers of individuals, who I think Lanier would agree, that argue that technology is ruining the minds of youth by making them weaker writers, lazy researchers, and unable to use an academic book. They feel that with the capabilities of the internet and this sense of hyper-connectivity, students are becoming dumber. I do not see how this can be possible. Students are not dumber, they are changing. They are not the same as 40-50 years ago no, but they are most definitely not dumber. If anything they are smarter. Students function on much higher levels now. Their abilities to multitask are phenomenal, in fact, I believe that if students are not multitasking they become bored and lose interest. They need continuous stimulation. Yes, technology is probably the sole factor for this, but that does not mean it is of the devil. If a kid doesn't know how to use the Dewey Decimal System to find a book in a library, big deal. Chances are he can find that book in multiple locations online, so what is wrong with that? If the resources are available to our students via a digital means, then why is that so much worse than a printed hard copy? I do agree that physical writing (on paper) is an important skill to master, but it does not serve much of a purpose in the world outside of the classroom. Most professions communicate through email, write documents using word processors, and type anything that is a formal copy. Very few people actually need to physically write down anything, it can all be typed. So isn't it more important for our students to be masters of the keyboard if our goal as Social Studies teachers is to prepare them for their life after graduation? I apologize for my rant, but I do not agree with Lanier that our dependency on technology is a complete terror. I think that we should learn it, master it, and embrace it. The amount of knowledge available to us is endless, we just need to educate ourselves on how to obtain it.

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