In ETEC 531 we examined the social and human implications of technological advances. This, in my opinion, is one of the most important aspects of this program because as educators we have the power to introduce technologies (or not) that will alter how our students operate; we also have the power to stimulate reflection in our students so that they will develop a critical sense toward new technologies.
In his essay “The Question Concerning Technology”, Heidegger states that “there [is] nothing technological about technology. He contends that technological determinism poses a great danger to our way of life and our ability to think (Murphy & Potts, 2003, p. 164). While technology should by definition signify the rational process by which challenges encountered in human activity are remedied, it is rare that those who embed technology into human activity engage in the rational process of analyzing its consequences (the environmental impact of the automobile for example). Integrating technology in the classroom is not enough – students have to understand how technology impacts them and the world around them.
In this group project, we created a digital unit that would get grade 12 students thinking about the impact of technology on society. We brainstormed about some of the issues that were of particular relevance in our professional context and divided the tasks among the 5 of us according to the various unit topics we had come up with. I worked on the SMS language unit.
SMS language is rapidly gaining popularity (Carrington, 2004), especially within secondary school youths for whom texting has become the main form of communication with peers, and many educators see this as a contributing factor in the decline of literacy skills. Integrating SMS into the curriculum not only helps students understand the value of explicit communication and the impact of technology on literacy, it also makes learning relevant for students as it brings their world into the classroom. Because literacy is a huge issue in education today, that is, secondary level students struggle with comprehension and writing competency, my focus was on having students show off their SMS language skills while exploring the ways it is impacting communication and language.
Carrington, V. (2004). Texts and literacies of the Shi Jinrui. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 25(2), 215-228. Retrieved July 3, 2009, doi:10.1080/0142569042000205109
Murphie, A., Potts, J. (2003). Culture & Technology.New York: Palgrave Macmillan.