Monday, January 17, 2011

Reflection on Digital Natives

It is hard for me to remember a time when I didn’t have a computer to use and now sometimes I wish that I were more disconnected. I think that it is overwhelming knowing that I have to check my e-mail everyday. I think that it was interesting that this was mentioned in the movie, that its hard to get away from technology because the people on the other end will get angry.

I know that I wouldn’t mind leaving technology behind for a few days, but it was scary to me to see the children in Korea who were placed into a camp because they are addicted to being on the computer and playing games. It was sad to see how disconnected the child was from his mother, and that he barely spoke to her because he would rather play games. It is interesting to see how Korea is approaching this issue and has developed camps such as these to help students who are spending too much time online. To me, it was shocking to find out that they have to take kids to camps like this in order to encourage normal childhood behaviours, these kids were over saturated with the amount of technology they are consuming in a day.

On the other hand, where technology was added in the classrooms at the school in the Bronx, things were made better. The school was embracing technology and using it in the classroom to blog with classmates and foster an online learning community, which I feel is definitely engaging for the students, because that is what today’s generation of students need, is engagement. Basically, there is a fine line of how much is too much and when does technology stop helping children and start hindering them. They need to learn about technology because in their lifetime it is important and constantly changing, but as kids, they also need to other sort of engagements as well, like riding bikes or playing in a sandbox. I feel as though technology, such as the Wii, can take away from that nowadays. 

From kids using technology, to adults using it for meetings and creating new realms to meet in. I think the whole idea of virtual meetings is a little weird, and that it means losing the personal connection with people. Having an avatar go to a meeting for you is not what I would see as ideal. I think it would be awkward because you might not ever get to know what that person actually looks like. There are other technologies that are being used right now that would be far better suited for this purpose, such as Skype. Using virtual reality for something like World of War craft and gaming, is understandable, it’s play not work. When it comes to being professional, I find holding online meetings in an imaginary world a little childish, especially when the people are already in the same room and they would just rather meet in their virtual world because their office is better there. I feel as though bringing the virtual world into the work place in this way is not very professional. Not only that, but the interaction with human contact is lost in the sense that you have to get motivated to go to work and do something with your life, as opposed to sitting on your couch on your laptop meeting in your virtual world wearing your pyjamas.

That isn’t to say that virtual reality technology can’t be good for some things, such as the unmanned aircrafts and as a post traumatic stress tool for troops, but again, it is all about the fine line that needs to be drawn.

Technology can be a good thing, but I think that this film has opened my eyes to the fact that it can make human beings lazy. Why would we read a book, when we could have our computer do it for us? Why would I go to work for a meeting, when I can meet online and not have to leave home? Why would I go out with my friends, when I can play virtual reality games with my online friends whom I have never met? It is still normal to sit around a campfire outside in the wilderness, and not a virtual one for a meeting online. Technology has made our lives easier, there is no doubt about that, but people need to figure out where to draw that line and when it is too much. We need to not let technology over take our lives and still be involved in the real world, if people are even able to distinguish what that is anymore. 

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