Hearing the distant voices

Distant Voices. Ironically, in this class that’s all I seem to be able to hear because of the huge computer screens every student sits in front of. The topic of the pros and cons of technological advances in our schools is difficult to traverse, even using the articles and abstractions from this week. The truth of the matter is that technology is essential, now that it’s so available and convenient. Not only that, but Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers relate electronically, and oftentimes prefer to use computers and Internet rather than have face-to-face discussion. Granted, this is a culture of youth and young adults that we have created inadvertently; it is a result of overt optimism and exploration of the computer age.
There is constant discussion in the college scene about online classes, online degrees, virtual classrooms, and many other aspects of distant learning. And while this discussion conveys that same optimism and desire for exploration as in earlier decades, there is something disconcerting about the pattern involved in the effects of advancements of technology on our youth. In other words, as technology becomes more thoroughly incorporated in our everyday lives, our children will be raised and trained to type first, write later; blog first, speak later; e-mail first, never call.
This is a strong argument against rapid integration of technology in the classroom. As you can see, the debate balances on the edge of a sharp precipice. While electronics are driving us apart on a personal level, they are also the major driving force behind the discoveries and improvements in medical, scientific, ecological, economical, and environmental studies.
One can hardly oppose the reasons to be in favor of advancing technology. The key, the balancing factor, is an act wherein each family and school and community needs to be able to use technology as well as communal relations to function. It is an important element in this act to never stifle the inquisitiveness of our youth. We already struggle to maintain their interest in education as it is; let’s encourage learning in any way we can, but we must balance it with a few steps away from computers, cell phones and video games to leave some room for the human factor.

1 comment for “Hearing the distant voices

  1. mcalou
    May 14, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I agree with you that technology needs to be integrated into the classroom. And you’re right; we shouldn’t forget the human interation part. Technology has made us more impersonal while at the same time providing closer contact; Twitter, blogs, email. I would advocate a “back to basics” education that explores the positive aspects of personal interaction while at the same time integrating technology into the mix. Is this what you are proposing?

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