Tag Archives: tech

Striking the Right [Tech] Balance

—This week I read three articles that presented a smorgasbord of positions about human-reliance on techno-gadgets.

In the first article, Carr explored the question is Google making us stupid? The author expressed concerned about our reliance on technology. Carr’s general argument is that tech and/or artificial intelligence is gaining strength and humans are experiencing an all time high of dumb. I would place Carr in the sky is falling category.

In The Myth of the Disconnected Life, Farman discussed how technology can be used to heighten our sense of place; he provided a few concrete examples of how tech has been used to enhance our personal experience with place. His argument could comfortably fit in the camp of tech-advocate.

The third piece is an excerpt from Clive Thompson’s book, Smarter Thank You Think. Thompson makes a convincing case for ongoing collaboration between humans and computers. He makes no attempt to promote one entity over the other. I would categorize Thompson’s stance as middle of the road.

I identified more with Thompson’s position. He was equally critical of the abilities of both man and computer. Thompson argued that humans have a unique trait–intuition–which cannot be replicated by computers. For example:

The recent accident between a motorist and one of Uber’s self-driven cars is a demonstration of what can happen if human abilities are absent from reality. A motorist failed to yield to the Uber vehicle, which caused the accident. If we replace the self-driven car with a human driver, we could increase the chances of avoiding the accident. You can read more about this accident by clicking here.

Computers cannot account for the unpredictable behavior that humans express on a daily basis. Yet, I am an advocate for driver assist technology (DAT), which harkens back to Thompson’s description of collaborative chess–humans and computers as chess teammates. I am not comfortable with computers taking full command of automobiles, but a few DAT warnings along the way could enhanced safety.

Much of this was discussed in previous GEDI sessions, so I look forward to rehashing the topic.


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“10 Cool Ways Teachers Use Social Media to Enhance Learning” by V. Harris

My task for this week was to find an article related to how teachers are using technology to enhance learning.  The first article I came across was this quick read by Vicki Davis.   She provided 10 examples of how teachers have incorporated tech in their classroom.  One teacher had students create Twitter handles using names of famous Aztecs.  As they walk through the history lessons, students sent tweets that stated how they think a historical event transpired.  I was inspired by several of the examples shared by Vicki, but then I started to think about how these ideas would align with higher education. Based on the provided examples, I assumed that most of them were drawn from K through 12.

I have found the delivery of most professors to be predictable, and this could make learning more of a chore.  However, a select few have made an effort to teach outside of the box.  One professor used a survey app to push questions to us [students] as we moved through the lesson. In fact, the professor projected our collective responses on a screen and we discussed each element of the lesson with great detail.  The professor used this tool a few times throughout the course and I thought it was a great way to spice up an otherwise mundane topic.  More importantly, I noticed that people were fully engaged.  Learning should be fun, and I think his use of tech helped to make that happen.

One challenge for higher ed is that we may sometimes find that our class population is not homogeneous.  Meaning, some students may be technologically challenged, and some students may not have the means to purchase or participate in certain platforms.  If we decided to make technology a centerpiece to our lesson plan, we must keep these type of issues in mind.  With enough creativity and patience, we can bring along those who are not savvy with technology and we can ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate.

If any of you have used technology as a centerpiece to learning, I would love to hear about it.

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