I Need More Time to Think

Until September this year, I only thought about digital technologies in simple, practical terms: do I want it, do I need it, can I afford it, will it make some part, any part, of my life easier, better, or more fun. And I have found answers to those questions relatively easily, although at times not without frustration. I have decided against some technologies not necessarily because of the technology itself, but because of the terms under which I would be allowed to use it. Others I have chosen to use gladly, fully appreciating the benefits they bring to my work or personal life.

Then, as part of the “Awakening the Digital Imagination” seminar series, I started reading scholarly articles and book excerpts about different aspects of digital technologies and their ever-increasing role in our lives and education, and engaging in discussions with a somewhat random (but thoughtfully assembled) group of people whose different perspectives have challenged many of my pervious assumptions. Or prompted me to contemplate questions I have never given any thought to before.

Now I have a bunch of notes, quotes, questions and unfinished thoughts, some on pieces of paper floating around in my house, in my car, or on my desk at work; some in emails; some scribbled (in pencil, of course) on the margins of our book, or on printed versions of the articles. I need to make sense of them somehow, internalize them further, digest them, to crystalize and organize the thought fragments that are swirling around in my head. But I don’t have time.

So for now I’m just going to toss some of them out here, without any kind of organization, commentary or proper referencing. These are bits and pieces that grabbed my attention for one reason or another in our readings and during our discussions:

It is only very recently that the ability to forget has become a prized skill.

Our cultural concept of education and knowledge is based upon the idea of building something up from a ground, from zero, and starting piece by piece to put things together, to construct edifices. […] Scientists always marvel at nature, at how it seems to be some grand code, with a built-in sense of purpose. Discoveries are made which reveal that more and more things are related, connected. Everything appears to be aware of itself and everything else, all fitting into an interlocking whole.

program or be programmed

everything is interesting until it’s ruined for us

exclusivity of access the book afforded vs relative democratization of access

technology is not value neutral

difference between tool and idea

corrupting power of consumer

tribal / collective consciousness

New technology possesses the power to hypnotize because it isolates the senses … renders those most deeply immersed in a revolution the least aware of its dynamic

…the public became patron

the social cost of planned obsolescence

people can no longer tolerate the boring bits of conversation … especially when talking about things that are complicated and hard  … being bored never has to be tolerated; must always be stimulated

mediated existence — capture event to post on facebook… I share therefore I am

presence of another person inhibits the worst in us… anonymity disinhibits us

moments of more and lives of less

capacity for solitude — if you don’t learn how to be alone, you will only know how to be lonely 

technological affordance vs human vulnerability

the sweetness of something new coming in on the phone — not knowing what’s coming

we are not as strong as technology’s pull

neurochemical hit of constant connection

need and ability for discernment

good – intentional – appropriate – consistent

relationship of beauty and pleasure to duration in time

If the criminal appears as a nonconformist who is unable to meet the demand of technology that we behave in uniform and continuous patterns, literate man is quite inclined to see others who cannot conform as somewhat pathetic.

education/learning is community-based … happens in context

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