Tech effect

I was walking past a classroom at 10:51 am.  Their were three students sitting in the room, near each other, I paused and observed.

Not a word was spoken.

I went on my way and discussed a few things with a colleague and then headed back to my office (I usually follow up emails with a face-to-face visit).  At 10:57 I walked past the same room.  Now there were about 8 students in the room.  I paused and observed.

Not a word was spoken.

This is the last week of the semester.  These people have had class together all semester.  This is not an issue of shyness.  They were gathering to meet for a class at 11:00 and they were not present.  They were somewhere else.  Each student had a device in use: laptops, cell phones, iPads.

Not a word was spoken.

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11 Responses to Tech effect

  1. Jeff Dicks says:

    Jared,

    That does appear to be sad, but what we don’t know is who they might have been connecting with people all over the world.

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    • jerridkruse says:

      You’re a true tech believer, Jeff. It’s a nice idea, but I’m not yet converted. :)

      Even if they were connecting across the globe, there was something lost in that room.

      Like

  2. Brilliant post and observation.

    Love the nuance.

    I am certain most teachers would been excited to see students using tech.

    I agree, something greater than a world connection or tech insight was lost: perhaps our humanity?

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  3. I think tech used for distraction is a problem. I think tech in order to block people out is sad and even dangerous. Tech to kill time is worthless. The problem though is not the machines, but the expectation of people from those machines.

    Those kids were not using the tools to do anything. They were distracted, wasting time and disconnected. They did not need to be together. The trick is how can we get kids together when they need to be, using the tech to bring them closer.

    It’s not easy, but important to ask these questions. There must be a balance.

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    • jerridkruse says:

      While I agree with much of what you say, I think there is something to be said of the machines. If we go back, yes, humans created the machines, but now the machines have value systems embedded in their design. These are powerful messages. We need to not only help kids use tech appropriately, but also how to identify these embedded messages.

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  4. How sad. I always think of technology as a means of bringing people together not to be used as another layer of insulation. Situations such as this become the fodder for ‘anti-tech’ sentiments and I find that frustrating as it is not the technology that is the problem. Where are the adults in this scenario? What are the expectations of students and their use of technological tools?

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    • jerridkruse says:

      These are college students – they are “adults”. The anti-tech sentiments are important voices as they keep the pro-tech sentiments honest. See my comment to Jabiz above.

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  5. David Wees says:

    I’m with you Jerrid. I’ve noticed this problem too at our school. I am often explicit when I see a group of children all online together in pointing out that there are real people in this room with whom they can connect right now.

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    • jerridkruse says:

      Explicitly drawing students attention to these issues is of great importance. People won’t notice these things on their own. They need others (teachers, peers, etc) to help them see.

      Like

  6. Pingback: Contentment | Rush the Iceberg

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