Digital Nation: ‘Drinking the Kool-Aid’

Digital Nation was a well-balanced documentary on the effect technology is having on our society.

I found it rather obvious that serial multi-tasking can lead to distraction from the primary task at hand. I know that when I’m trying to get some school work done, occasionally the lure of facebook, texting a friend, checking e-mail gets in the way of me concentrating on the task at hand. Mabye the problem with multi tasking is in it’s open ended definition. What do we even define as tasks? In the video the examples they gave made it seem like a lot of social networking, and not the kind that helps with learning, is what most students define as tasks.

Sitting in my own classes I see many students on their phones and computers texting, playing games (apps), updating their twitter/facebook status, etc. all while the instructor is lecturing. Very few, if at all, are using the technology to take notes. To put this in perspective, an equivalent of this even 5-10 years ago would have been to bring in and openly read a newspaper, play with a rubiks cube, pass notes, etc. Why does the technology make what would have been considered inappropriate then suddenly so alright now? Is it because we have conditioned ourselves so that we now have an ever shrinking mindset?

I also liked the way in which S. Korea is teaching children at an early age the ethics and proper use of the internet. I don’t really know what they meant by the ‘proper use,’ but the idea of teaching etiquette here may help to curb some cyberbullying, and all the unconstructive hate that thousands choose to leave after nearly every youtube video. I will certainly make a point to get students on computers as much as possible, so that they become comfortable with it’s uses, while helping them to be aware of the positives and negatives of web use so they can make their own responsible decisions down the line.

I was impressed with the use of computers helping to turn around the N.J. School. I was pretty dismayed however when I saw how the computer use was being inforced. To me, spying on youths through their computers is very big brother, and only promotes the idea that students cannot be trusted to keep themselves focused in class. There must be a better way of detering students from surfing the net, because I would rather they not use the computers at all then be watched most of the day by a super creepy vice principal!

There was so much more content that I will need to write another entry later. Out of time!


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