Coming to Grips with the Way Technology Shapes Our World
As rational as this argument may seem, it still feels as though parents and teachers are fighting an uphill battle. So as Apple unveils its redesigned iPhone and Amazon’s Alexa sits on our bedside table, I may be less excited than most. Honestly, it is hard to want to invest in new smartphones and spend time talking to these devices or even interacting through social networks when these kinds of technologies might be doing everything from illegally influencing elections to fracturing the ability of both adults and children to stay focused.
I’m not suggesting we go back to a time and age without technology. To the contrary. I recognize that despite legitimate concerns about its role in our world, tech will likely improve many facets of our lives. For example, self-driving cars could make our roads safer and provide greater mobility for the elderly and people with disabilities. But it should also be noted that this same technology will likely put millions of people out of work and even the best economists don’t know what the long-term impact will be.
But this is clear: technology companies are seeking greater profits, a goal they achieve by making their products an increasingly important part of our lives. And it is equally clear that given this motivation, there is no going back. Schools now need to equip students with the tools they need to intelligently use the tools these companies are continually creating and telling us we need. Those tools include the ability to nurture real-world relationships over time. The ability to think and react with empathy. The capacity to weave awareness of data, detail, and intuition to devise solutions that cross disciplines and draw on the strengths of every member of a group.
This is no easy task. But at the rate technology is
impacting our world, it might be one of the most important one our generation
of parents and educators face.
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