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Education and Technology

March 16, 2010

I came across an article by Ken Myers (Mars Hill Audio) today in which he reviews a book by Steve Talbott titled Devices of the Soul: Battling for Our Selves in an Age of Machines.  The title alone is sufficient for my interests, but it gets better.

The article (Society for Classical Learning, February 2010, p. 9) reads: 

He challenges the modern assumption that the main purpose of knowledge is to acquire power to do things.  “Something in our culture works powerfully against a sensitive, participative understanding of the world, often obliterating that understanding wherever it does arise.”  While not explicitly so, there are strong incarnational themes in Talbott’s book as well, as he repudiates the common assumption that we know the world only as minds that happen to be in bodies.

Instead, he argues, we know the world best in a fully engaged way, attentive to its details, its interconnectedness, its specificities.  Talbott is obviously critical of various fashionable technologies and their uses, but only because we assume that we can be mere “users” of technology, and not symbiotically shaped by it.

Beautiful.  This is certainly a book I want to explore further. 

I think it is reasonable to assume that the discussion of technology in education (and even with personal and professional use) concentrates, if not entirely, then largely, on its utility.  Technology makes life easier.  It’s faster.  It’s better.

But to what extent has there been any discussion on how or to what degree technology bends our human constitution? 

 

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