Technology changing our cognitive power or just our soul?

IAAK is an educational technology solutions company.  We like technology, we see the value of technology, and, of course, we promote technology.  However, we believe that the technology needs to enhance or extend the learning.  Before integrating any new piece of hardware of software, school leaders and teachers should pause and evaluate the benefits or affordances the technology brings to teaching and learning.  If the technology does not add true value, is it needed?  Making this distinction requires:  1) understanding pedagogy, 2) understanding your students and their developmental capabilities, 3) understanding the technology solution as it applies to your context, and 4) guts to stick to what you know and believe.   

The New York Times article The Twitter Trap by Bill Keller sparks lots of thinking and resonates with many of the conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks.  The author comments on the effect technology (especially social media like Twitter and Facebook) has on our cognitive abilities as well as on our ways of being ‘social’.  It’s worth the read.  Here are a couple quotes to pique your interest:

  • “Basically, we are outsourcing our brains to the cloud.”
  • Twitter “…demands attention and response. It is the enemy of contemplation.”
  • “So let me be clear that Twitter is a brilliant device — a megaphone for promotion, a seine for information, a helpful organizing tool for everything from dog-lover meet-ups to revolutions. It restores serendipity to the flow of information.”

And the best is the last – he ends the piece by citing a novelist, Meg Wolitzer, who describes the high-school generation as, “The generation that had information, but no context.  Butter, but no bread.  Craving, but no longing.”