Sunday, April 7, 2013

Raising Funny Kids 35: We Love Technology, but Enough's Enough

Okay, admittedly, we own nearly every desirable gadget under the sun. Some we purchased in the name of education, some in the name of rewards, some, just because they were très kewl. 

However, lately, we've felt as if we have technological poisoning. We have all spent far too much time on our computers and we can feel those effects in increased lethargy, body stiffness and overall physical discomfort (i.e., we feel burned out). 

In an information age society, the computer acts as a tool to bring in information. However, when we find ourselves sitting there for extended periods of time "thinking" rather than utilizing the computer for its intended purpose, our sense of balance and discipline is naturally called into question. 

Given our travels, we get much from our computers. We have access to friends and family, bank accounts, school, YouTube, iTunes, and the list goes on... 

Computers offer a rainbow of experiences that contradict with our ability maintaining overall balance in our lives. We read on electronic devices, we compose or write on electronic devices, we eat near our electronic devices, and we overexpose our biological systems to electronic devices - which seems to result in a complete washout of our physical systems. 

Nomadic, exploratory education requires exploring - getting off the computer and out into the field. Technology restricts our physical movements. Foucault's disciplinary societies operate through continual control and instant communication, which isn't always good. It's important to think before we speak (and communicate). There's value to allowing thoughts to develop in our brains before we share them.

Institutions are spreading through captive, tuned-in audiences. We are creating a culture of worker-schoolkids or bureaucrat-students willingly chained to their desks (laptops or cell phones). Redefining educational models that result in "glued to the screen students" are not models redesigned. They simply offer a new tool along with "new" ways of stuffing in "old" information. 

A truly unique educational model looks to varied experiences through travel and exploration of unique locations, via crafts and construction or cooking.  An individual's hometown can serve as a new location if they haven't seen all that their town or city has to offer. 

Take the touristic approach and explore your hometown and I bet you'll be amazed by what you see and learn. More importantly, your kids won't be bored. They'll be on the lookout for new opportunities and new ways of thinking about things they have long dismissed as "old news". 

Turning exams into continuous assessments turns education itself into a business. In this manner, new educational models that are currently being designed are simply replacing the post-industrial factory mindset. These models are supported by the elusive and abstract concept of continuing education and are becoming the means to providing society with a continuous stream of human capital for the knowledge economy. 

When human capital replaces humans, we have to step back and recognize that we have gone from being an individual to a dividual, a market statistic, part of a sample, an item in a data bank. 

Getting off the computer, no matter how much we love the darn thing, disrupts the prevailing order of things by increasing the positive effects of exploring and personal, direct sharing, which is novel, unpredictable, unforeseeable, and, oh so, enjoyable. 

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