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Carole's Blog

A Human Endeavour. Post #6 EDER 679 Technology and Society

Filed under: EDER 679.05 November 26, 2012 @ 10:43 am

 

The time has come to wrap up our blog posts for this course. Blogging is about reflection and evidence of the power of reflection has been coming at me from all angles this week.

We have pondered the value of digital games, collaborative tools, curriculum restrictions, the role of inquiry, student engagement. We need to be very thoughtful in every aspect of our work as teachers. As we expand the tools available for learning we need to remember that what works for students and for adults is what has worked for millennia – human interaction.

While moderating our chapter discussion on digital games I was struck with an idea. People play mmo’s because of their need to play; to connect. At the core of digital games is the collective, the same collective exists in the street games kids have played for centuries. The thrill of kick the can, the challenge of street hockey, the buzz of a group demonstration are all embodied in the digital world of collective-style digital games. Humans want to interact with other humans.

We are often surprised by the impact of blogging. Yet we are fully aware of the power of reflection. Blogging, journalling, diaries, personal letters, stories around the campfire – is there any difference? Now we have a digital campfire where everyone can have a turn at being the storyteller.

Today I linked to a middle school student’s blog from a tweet by Dr. Michele Jacobsen, a U of C professor. The post was profound and personal. The comment section was teeming with reactions. Some may look at this blog and say, ‘Look what blogging can do.’ Yes, blogging is a powerful tool, yet we cannot underestimate that it grows from our long existing need to connect.

Many people focus on the fact that blogs have a massive audience – yet it doesn’t take responses from thousands of people to make an impact. One comment has an impact. Five comments and we feel connected. More than ten comments and the word viral starts to enter our thoughts. The world of blogging is a digital form of the printing press and we know the impact that invention had, and continues to have, on the world.

This term I have been writing a scholarly reflective journal. I’ve chosen to keep a digital journal, although many in class keep paper journals. We read and we discuss, all the while we are very thoughtful about the content of the readings. Yet it is our own writing that brings the deepest awareness, synthesis, discovery of ideas. I’m not alone in this experience. It is a shared experience that we all talk about and then write about. We write about how writing has furthered our thinking…our knowing.

The world is changing. What hasn’t changed is that we are human. The ways we engage are truly personal and unique to each of us. The connecting thread woven through the work of teaching is that this is a human endeavour. Our work in schools will be strengthened as we remember our humanness. My hope is that our digital tools will help us to do just that.

4 Comments »

  1. Patti J:

    Its so true Carole.
    As I began the process of online learning, the thought of working in isolation was rather daunting. However, through collaboration in all courses, isolation was never a concern. We connect with others in our courses through various means, and, without ever actually meeting, we get to know our classmates. It truly is a changing world and one which offers so many expanded opportunities. My hope is that this trend can be available to far more school aged students in the future.
    Patti

  2. Dan Rawlyk:

    True enough! I read a blog on new technologies that will be here in the near future based on current research and developments. The statement that resonated most with me was, “Truly, the biggest changes we’ll face will not come in the form of any visible technology; the changes that matter most, as they always have, will occur in those places we know best but can never quite see: our own hearts and minds” (Wire, 2011). I think that we use technology as another survival tool much like fire was used 1000s of years ago. This is something that I can use to perpetuate some aspect of myself. Take a look if you have time in the hectic week or two. Thanks again.

    Wire, J. (2011). 23 incredible technologies you’ll see by 2021. Retrieved from http://matadornetwork.com/life/24-incredible-new-technologies-youll-see-by-2021/

  3. Carly Abraham:

    Excellent post Carole. I agree with you. The world has changed to include a vast amount of technology. We, as teachers and people, must use the technology to stay connected. My sister-in-law refuses to use a cell phone. What a unique situation! And slightly frustrating for her family who wants to get a hold of her!

    Take care and best wishes for the future.

  4. Elissa:

    Hi Carole,
    There was one line in your post that really stayed with me. The line was “People play mmo’s because of the need to play; to connect.” When I think of all the we have discussed, blogged and learned about this course I keep being drawn to the idea of “connections”. What is technology if not another way to connect? We can share our feelings, thoughts and passions with other people through blogs. We can share our lives and pictures with friends through Facebook. We can connect with those on the other side of the planet through Skype and email. All of these are ways to connect with others, to make that human connection and technology has given us so many more ways to do it.

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