Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Week 1 Response

Although I am not surprised by how much time a lot of teenagers spend online and on their phones texting, as opposed to having face-to-face interactions with each other, I do find it somewhat depressing. A serious disconnect exists between people when all their interactions are filtered through a computer screen or a cell phone. Young people could be using their time in much more productive and enriching ways. However, I don't think this problem is unique to teenagers. Everywhere you look people have their iphones, blackberries, or whatever in their hands, texting, sending emails, or just playing around. There exists this need to constantly be connected to some form of electronic communication. Teenagers, by nature, tend to be borderline obsessive about certain trends and fads and in this case seem to be leading by example. While it is clearly a problem, I wonder if the whole issue is being over dramatized or sensationalized in this video. Teenagers are certainly secretive and parents cannot constantly monitor what the children are doing, but the video makes it seem like the parents are completely helpless and overwhelmed in the face of electronic communication. While the video is informative and raises some important questions, it seems that it has focused on the extreme end of this issue.
As far as what this means for teachers, I think it is important to keep up to date with advancements in technology, however, there should still be room for traditional teaching practices. Again, it seems that there must be some sort of disconnect between students and teacher when the entire class is being lead over the computer. I wonder how much quality interaction can occur when students are staring at a computer screen the entire class while a teacher is lecturing. At the same time, it would be foolish to completely write off computers and technology and have no knowledge on how to use them nowadays. The internet and computers in general can be useful learning tools, but their use should be monitored. There is just as much useless junk on the web as there is educational information. I was most disturbed when one of the boys interviewed said that he does not read books and completely relies on sparknotes. I find that pathetic, but how can we go about solving a problem like that?

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