Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Challenges of Constant Connectivity

In my previous post I highlighted Neil Selwyn's EDMEDIA debate presentation in which he argued that too much of the social media in education discourse is happening within an "ed tech bubble". He referred to the "self-contained, self- referencing and self-defining nature of the debate" and he called for a broader discussion with people outside "the bubble".

I'm not sure if Sherry Turkle would be considered outside the ed tech community but she is certainly somebody who brings a refreshingly thoughtful perspective on the issues related to the use and impact of digital technologies.

Here is an edited version of an interview she gave for the excellent PBS series, Digital Nation, in which she talks about the challenges of constant connectivity and argues for a more considered approach to digital technologies that recognizes that we are in the early days of learning how to use these technologies and understanding their impact.

"I don’t really care what technology wants. It’s up to people to develop technologies, see what affordances the technology has. Very often these affordances tap into our vulnerabilities. I would feel bereft if, because technology wants us to read short, simple stories, we bequeath to our children a world of short, simple stories. What technology makes easy is not always what nurtures the human spirit."

Read: Digital Demands: The Challenges of Constant Connectivity

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