One of the hottest topics of education today and the globe in general is technology.
Where is the line between addiction, use, misuse, abuse? Is it good or bad? How old should you be to use it? Is there too much information online? Are the children growing up to fast in the hands of tech? What are the possibilities of using tech. in a purposeful way? How do we control predators? On and on it goes..
There is no doubt technology has changed our lives. Whether it has done human beings a favor or not is likely debatable. If you’ve been keeping up with my posts you will know that I am sitting on the fence between the two arguments. After our web chat with Alec Couros, I found myself leaning further toward the benefits tech. has provided.
Here are some highlights of what Alec discussed with us:
What has changed since entering the network world?
i. Content- there is endless information out in the world that is accessible at the click of a button (whoa).
ii. Information literacy- it is hard to desipher what is real or not on the internet. Of course there are many ways to prove or disprove the reliability of an article, but you just never really know.
iii. Identity verification- this was a fun one. We talked a bit about “cat fishing”. If you do not know what this is, here is a link to the documentary that coined the term:
In short, “cat fishing” usually involves people online who pretend to be someone they are not. They may use false images, false information, etc. They may attempt entering a romantic relationship with a person online and later ask for financial help for their own personal gain, or they may just want some connection. YIKES. That is what the internet subjects us to?! Yes… it can be scary, but such is life. Whether you are virtual or not, you always run the risk of challenges coming your way. Hiding from conflict and challenges can make for a pretty boring life… I think anyway.
Note: I found it interesting how laid back Alec was about how many people online have tried to pretend to be him and use his identity to target people on the internet.
However, if you take a minute to really think about it, it is not something that will end your life. If you are still super paranoid about this happening.. you can always highten your security settings on your social media presence but again that doesn’t always work.
My advice? Just do your best to use the internet as a hub for pumping out beautiful words, thoughts, and images. The rest is beyond your control.
iv. One for all to all in one- The biggest change we have seen in technology is the past: you needed a phone, a computer, a calculator, and a notepad to do three different tasks, compared to today: you have a phone that is built with all this and more into one device.
With each of these changes in mind, we know that our culture as a society has changed. In the beginning of this journey, tech was doom and gloom and scary to me. As I progress in this class, tech has become more of a friend rather than a foe. If you are in a similar place of fear and resistance, I hope you can someday find the beauty in tech.
Who ever would have thought we could go on virtual tours with our classroom in different parts of the world, video chat family you have not seen in years, connect with millions of people around the globe about anything you may need help with, generate new and engaging ways to teach and learn?
Where do we go from here?
There are so many positive contributions the networking world has made to our lives if only we can take the time to learn to use them in a meaningful and positive way. Here are some closing thoughts we had in our talk with Alec on how to move forward with tech:
- Embrace and model connected literacies: show others how social media engines like Twitter can be used to learn for teachers and students i.e.posting articles, participating in chats, creating assignments via Tweets. Just because we are on social media does not mean we need to disconnect from humans and connect to computers.. be social, share your thoughts, meet new people, it can actually be amazing (perhaps you could meet some people you network online with in real life sometime?).
- Make learning visible- tech allows for self directed learning. This does not only apply to our young ones but to ourselves and the older generation too! Read articles, critique them, share your thoughts, share your knowledge!
- Develop student identity and voice- the internet can seem like a dangerous place. Teach students about positive digital identity and model it. Create real change.. if students are exposed to something they think is wrong or needs to be changed, let them act on it! Change goes beyong liking posts, it needs to turn into action.
For myself.. I am not yet entirely converted to the benefits of technology. I am heavily swayed, but still challenged by the drawbacks and disconnect that I so often witness in society. I plan to continue on my journey and find a way to revolutionize the internet and spread the word on the impact of quality digital education.
The tech world is a wand that sparks good or evil, it all depends on who is holding the stick.