José Antonio Millán
Digital prostheses in education: opportunity or consumerism?
There are, literally, hundreds of conferences around the world in the field of education, and hundreds of ways to use Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, as a quick search can tell. Almost everything can be used in a classroom. But, why should we?
Thoreau says, in Walden,
our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. So, can we really do now more things we previously could with our new pretty toys? Or are they just distractions?
Teachers tend to suffer from the “shiny penny syndrome”, that is, their attention (and efforts) gets caught by the latest technology or device. It is only natural, but it sometimes falls into technocentrism or technoeuphoria.
Educators should definitely have a critical approach to technologies and just say no to the fast and mindless adoption of the newest technology. That is not being a Luddite, but just do a rational use of technology.
Of course there are pros on the use of ICTs in education:
- Immediate access to huge amounts of information.
- Enhancement of creativity.
- Share and build knowledge collectively.
We have to try not to think on shiny devices and go back to the source instead. Understanding the code, made by people, by real humans, is getting back in touch with what humans intended with the technology they created.