Wednesday, December 12, 2012

If technology is invisible, can students use it in a balanced way?

One of the attributes of the IB Learner Profile is that students should be balanced.  This is defined in the following way:

They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others. 

In Jason Ohler's new book Digital Community, Digital Citizen he refers to Standard 4 of the NETS-Ts:
Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an existing digital culture and exhibit legal and critical behaviour in their professional practices.
He and writes that teachers should balance, and help their students balance, many things:

  • opportunity -v- responsibility
  • empowerment -v- caution and consideration
  • personal fulfillment -v- community and global well-being
  • local action -v- global perspectives
In Chapter 6 of his book Ohler writes about how technology can both connect and disconnect - and that students have to be able to appreciate and balance both in order to analyze the impact of technology.  This is often hard to do as the benefits of the connections are immediate and obvious while the disconnections are often only appreciated in hindsight and when we are actually focused on or looking for them.  Another challenge is that in order to help students achieve a balanced point of view, we have to help them to see technology that is largely invisible to them (as they have never known a life without it).   Chris Lehmann coined the phrase, "Technology must be like oxygen:  ubiquitous, necessary and invisible", and yet the danger, as Ohler points out, is that if something is invisible then we don't think to question it and therefore it's harder to think about its potential impact on the future that students want for themselves and their communities.

Plenty to think about in this chapter!

Photo Credit: Lapicero by Gerard Avila,  2010 AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike

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