Technology shapes the world we live in more and more each day, and just as Marshall McLuhan says “We shape our tools and, thereafter, our tools shape us”. It is fascinating and scary to think about just how fast digital technology has taken over our lives, and it has created its own new culture that allows people to participate and connect to each other in a whole new way, but at the same time can be dangerous if not used properly.
In Katia’s presentation, she mentioned how almost every person on earth has a digital footprint, some even before they are born. With this being the case, it is now becoming so much more important to think about how this new culture will affect us as educators, and how this wave of technology will be present in our classrooms. It is becoming more and more clear that there is no way to avoid it, but instead, it is now about how we are to handle it.
I think the biggest thing that we need to focus on, is helping our students navigate this digital world. We live in a world where information is flying at us at a rapid pace and it can become overwhelming and confusing for anyone. And just like it was mentioned in the presentation, our lives have become almost entirely digital, and almost everyone has a device that connects them, so it is impossible to avoid it. That is why I believe our education system needs to focus on teaching online safety as well as re-finding that balance between our online and offline life.
Now I do see the benefits of having a connected and digital society, but I have always been somebody who has been skeptical of the role it should play in our lives. In Micheal Wesch’s video An anthropological introduction to YouTube, he talks about our cultural inversion, and how what is expressed in our society, is completely opposite to what we value. He uses the examples of how more and more we live in a world of individualism, independence and commercialism, while we long for and value community, relationships, and authenticity. That is why I believe it is so important to help our students realize that technology does have many benefits, but it’s important to understand that there is a life outside of it.