First, a dislosure: I have been stuggling with moocguilt this week. You know the one, the guilt that strikes when you come home from a draining day at work, and, after a family dinner, sit down with a computing device and say to yourself: «I will now reactivate my brain and go the #edcmooc resouces and get moocing! There are connecitons to be made, learning to encounter». And seconds later, comes the little follow-up «But first I need to relax a bit.» Some Twitter, catching up on some rss feeds, some mindless surfing…and before you know it the evening has passed you by.
I seem to remember that is what did me in last time as well.
And then I realise – this is what life is like now, isn’t it. Academics, teachers, students, goodness knows who (everyone) else. I have the world at my fingertips, through this science fiction-like technology I controll with my fingertips, and there I times when it is overwhelming. Quite beyond my capacity to controll at times.
Is this deterministic? Have I fallen prey to the effects of a technology that har inevitably changed both my, and the society in which I live? A technology that has changed the way society works, the way education works, the very way our brains work?
Trouble is, there’s this little nagging voice that reminds me that I did not suddenly learn procrastination when I acquired my first modem in 1993. On the contrary, I was quite adept at it before. When I see my teenager procrastinating online, I am reminded that as a teenager I procrastinated with television, dungeons and dragons, mindless doodling, comics, and whatever else was more interesting than the task at hand (yes, also in class). Rather than adding to my consumption of mindless crap, access to the internet has replaced one source of mindless crap – television – with another – my iPad.
The difference being that I can – and do – actually use the iPad for productive reading and writing as well.
Of couse technology has affected both myself and society, but when I look at education, for example, I am far more worried about the creeping (and not so creeping) commercialisation of education than about the use of computers and other ed-tech in the classroom. I believe the commercial forces are taking advantage of technology to extend their grip, rather than the spread of technology driving the increasing commericalisation of society. (That’s a whole other discussion I won’t get into here)
Have I changed in 20 years online?
I should bloody well hope so! I am 20 years older and wiser (or at least more experienced).
Has that change been determined by technological advances? No, I do not think so – although it has definitely been affected by them.