Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Luddites on Parade

I'm not sure how we are supposed to do this, but I just finished iBrain Chapter 1 and want to get it out there. Sorry if I'm stepping on anyone's toes. Frankly, as a concerned "Digital Immigrant and " I found the chapter to be very interesting and confirmed some of the observations that I have had in class regarding the "digital natives". Its good to know that there is researched positive affects of the digital era. When people debate evolution vs creationism, what gets lost in the conversation is the idea that evolution continues...there is no stopping point. So naturally the idea that our environmental inputs - digital age - would have an impact on our neural wiring. I am very concerned about our social skills. My wife signed me up a few months ago for Facebook. Its great and nice, but I still miss in person contact. My parents moved here in 1986 and I remember people always stopping by or vice versa. That doesn't happen anymore. Even though I live in the town I grew up in, I rarely have people stop by for a beer and conversation and my wife and I don't reciprocate. My students don't wait. They barge into conversations with other people to inject their own unrelated requests or statements. These are interpersonal skills that are being lost. I believe that some of this behavior comes from the "chatting" with multiple people, each in their own window....you don't have to be polite in that environment. I also see the continuous partial attention. It becomes additive for the kids. They have to know whats going on and have 30 things going on. Parents then ask about ADHD......Over the holiday, I'm planning on going camping, somewhere with my family. I appreciate this time with, almost, mandatory disconnection from the digital world.


  1. Good point on the students not waiting to interject. It used to be a slower moving lifestyle but since the advent of high speed information, we have all lost our patience. Should we fix it? Or adapt to it?

  2. I would point out that without facebook I would not be able to interact with people I would never have meet. For example, I just did a mustang cruise I only knew about through facebook. I currently have new friends through out country with similar interests who have been valuable help on my car project I only meet through this medium. I get to be involved in my niece/nephews lives who live in other states only with social networking tools. I am however, not diminishing Jesse's point. I think moderation comes to mind. I think they should be doing everything.... not just online but outside as well. But I think it is more of adapting (like Cathy says) then replacing one for another. * also the point of a blog is communication so making a post is fine... more commenting is important so more we get the better it will be

  3. I too like the face to face conversation but I also agree with Keith in that some of my interactions with people can only exist in the digital realm. The PLN I'm forming on twitter and Facebook have people across the US and beyond. There is no way I'd be able to have a true face to face with them. However intentions can be lost in the emotionless text of an email or post.

    Cathy my feeling is that right now it is too out of hands to reign back in and fix it. I say we try our best to adapt to the world that the nation and worlds next generation is living in.

    I often feel like I'm a 1st generation digital native. Meaning I've been surrounded with technology most of my life but the 2nd generation (our students) are taking it to the next level and know I'm forced to sink or swim.

  4. I agree that moderation is the key, but I think everyone is so overwhelmed and/or mesmerized by technology right now that they aren't able to do that. I myself am totally guilty. I always have radio or the television on for noise in my house - always. When I'm watching certain shows or the recent Casey Anthony trial I am also checking what people are saying online because it is fascinating to be able to quickly get a read for the public. I think it will have to swing so far over to the extreme until we all burn out and are able to find some moderation.

  5. We may not want to forget that this new way of teaching/communicating allows for the "quiet" student to get a word in.... (not that that would ever be problem in my class ahmm) and the kid who avoids can't because it is so obvious when they don't comment (Erin, Peiter, Laura...etc..ahmm... jkn ha ha) One thing with technology use in schools it we forget to give kids time to try and fail with it. We teach a math concept and then give practice then test it. With technology we keep them away from it... and when they finally get access and they do something wrong with it we immediately take it away. I found by letting my students have the first 5-10 minutes of class (usually passing time) to use computers as they want as long as appropriate content they are more effective. They rush to my class.. so less wasted passing time wandering to class and it gives them a chance to learn HOW to stop with immersive games and webpages breaking away going back to "reality"

  6. @Cathy: There is no fixing it. I think adaptation is the only chance.

    In general, though, I really don't think there's any way we can feasibly blame the kids interjecting, interrupting, or randomly blurting out unrelated comments, on the fact that they do this online. They do it anyway! They're kids! I have a poster in my classroom that I made myself as "therapy" a couple of years ago. My kids love it. It says, "ATTENTION ALL FRESHMEN: Your official goal for this year is to recognize and embrace the notion that every random thought that pops into your head does not need to come out your mouth." This is not a purely digital scourge. Students are still in the midst of their social and physical development, and we can't expect them to behave maturely. I really think it's expecting too much of them.

    As far as Facebook goes, I'd be lost without it. Both of my sisters (one older, one younger) live over 1,000 miles away from me. We all have children who we get to see once a year if we're lucky. Facebook lets us stay in touch for free, and, even more importantly, OFTEN. I've been able to reconnect with people I haven't seen since elementary school. My older sister was able to communicate with her husband every day while he was deployed in Iraq, and then again in Afghanistan. I think technology is a beautiful thing. :) I guess I'm biased.