Where are we headed?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Frontline: digital nation (90 min)

The video posted is from a PBS series called Frontline: digital nation. In this presentation Douglas Rushkoff explores the role of technology in various applications and delves further into the digital world and the human experience with technology.

The idea of today’s students being able to multitask and the delusion students tell themselves that they are more productive as multitaskers really made me pause and reflect on my current use and interaction with technology. Watch segment 2 What’s it doing to their brains?

As my grad studies work took me further into the digital work world and I began to use the 2.0 tools I was being exposed to I saw myself developing multitasking abilities and assumed that I was becoming a better student because of this new skill. While reading if I was to come across a word or concept I was unfamiliar with I would go and satisfy my curiosity via Wikipedia, go see if there were any good links I could grab through a hash tag on twitter, or scan through my delicious or Google reader. What a studious learner I have become in my quest to be self taught, intrinsically motivated and a master of my content. However, as I reflect on this there are positives and negatives associated with multitasking. First off I do find myself distracted by other posts on twitter, I get side tracked while looking for one piece of information and end up on a journey in the opposite direction. How then do I combat the distracted nature of the new digital world? I approach it with purpose. We must remove the excuse of distraction and focus on the intentions of the learning or learner. Why are we on a particular site in the first place? Fun, education or business? I acknowledge that there is a variety of reasons why an individual would visit a website and to list only three categories is quite limiting. As for the purpose of my reflection I am trying to limit the distractions of more than three categories as I could go and research those further and include more resources and content around those as well. Yet another 2.0 distraction in thought, a distraction embedded in the content itself.

As teachers in the digital age I believe our role is not to exploit technology in hopes of adding a wow factor to our lessons but rather teach through modeling the focused use of technology. There are times when listening to music, texting, IMing and video chatting can take place concurrently but not when academic pursuits are the purpose in using the technology. There is nothing new to this idea of undistributed focus. So, as teachers do we meet the students where they live and cater to their wants in the learning environment? or Do we take them out of a comfort zone and back to a more traditional approach to learning? Watch segment 4 Teaching with Technology

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