The Price of Technology

Technology, typically, to me means to be “plugged in, turned on or fully charged”. This however is not always the case as we look around the world of education. Take the pencil for example. It is a powerful yet simple tool that can be used to solve equations, write letters, stories, and draw to your hearts content. Take crayons, where you can add colour, texture detail and make that art come to life with colour.

In my education, the pencil was a major part of my technology, as well as the blackboard, overhead projector, sometimes we were treated to the the odd filmstrip. I actually enjoyed taking notes. I found it therapeutic to copy notes from the chaldboard. It was quiet and focused. In university, I had a great old typewriter. I even got to take typing class in high school. I loved it and found the repetition and clunky noise soothing. I didn’t actually have a computer until after I was finished my degree.

From computers, we moved on to flip phones and now to an iphone which can do so many things. However, with the readings this week there was one that stuck out. It was Neil Postman’s statement in his article, Five things we need to know about technological change … “we always pay a price for technology. The greater the technology, the greater the price.” This seemed profound to me. If we take a look at cars (or modern transportation in general) what have they done? Reaked a lot of havoc on the climate, helped to create an obese society,… but have made it very simple to get to point A to point B in a short amount of time, allowed the world to grow smaller, and have given us easier access to goods from far away. It seems like there is no fair trade.

If we look at technological advancements in medicine, there are amazing things being done in the world that allow people to live much better lives than they ever would have years past. But in the same regard it is almost like we want to live forever instead of enjoying what we have while we have it. It seems like people want quantity of life vs. quality. One profound statement that changed my outlook on life was made from an Indonesian man, when I found out he lost his two sisters because they were both born premature. I was saddened when he told me that they died because the hospital was too far away. But he consoled me and said, “we all have a moment we are born, a moment we are married, a moment we die. But in between, we need to smile, laugh and converse with our brothers of Lombok (which just means to shoot the shit)”. So in the end, shouldn’t we all learn to accept death as a part of life and enjoy the time we do have?

Technology brought about Social Media. Which has made an enormous impact in the world, probably the largest. Social media sites such as Google, facebook, instagram, are all some of the richest companies in the world and have many benefits. But in watching the netflix documentary, the social dilemma social media is creating so many more problems – spreading manipulative narratives, mental health problems, fake news, and a huge increase in suicides and hospitalizations, especially in preteen girls. This show actually prompted me to delete my social media because it scared me so much. Escpecially after hearing younger colleaugues telling me that when they were in high school, they would take down a post if they did not receive more than 100 likes. That made me feel sick.

https://media.giphy.com/media/XHwyKoris0mqyq0cyl/giphy.gif

In this regards I worry about what the state of the world will be in in the next decade and beyond and is the largest example of “paying the price for technology”.

In the mean time, I also look at how we have to pull back and teach kids ways to “unplug”- with things like, zentangles, art therapy, yoga, mindfulness, and happiness. So in a way, the pencil is still a powerful tool- a tool of therapy where you can write or draw which is therapeutic. So I hope our world finds a healthy balance between “plugged in, turned on, charged up” technology and good ol’ paper technology.

Published by Lisafrazer

Educator, Mom, Traveller, believer in all things are possible

10 thoughts on “The Price of Technology

  1. Lisa,

    So many great points!!! I totally agree with you on the stress caused by being constantly “plugged in, turned on or fully charged”. I often feel that we are forgetting about the simple things. When I look at my daughter with the phone constantly in her hands, I feel sad. I am planning to watch the Netflix documentary with her since social media has been playing an important role in her life. This past summer because of hurtful comments on Snapchat, she was the one who deleted it from her phone. We had to learn the hard way that the age recommendations are there for a reason. Level of maturity and being a responsible digital citizen should be key requirements before we, parents throw our children in the deep.

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    1. Yes. I think we as parents can only imagine the huge stress it plays in our children’s lives. Hence why bringing awareness to it in classes such as this is so important.

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  2. So much of what you said resonates with me Lisa. Being ‘plugged in’ constantly can be so draining. I too worry about our younger generations who rely so much on that instantaneous feedback. I think along with tech lessons we should be focusing on also teaching and promoting quality personal relationships and intrinsic self worth. I’m sure this is a component in responsible digital citizenship but am new to all these new terms/concepts 🙂

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  3. Thank you for such a great read! You hit so many important points. I also really enjoyed reading Neil Postman’s article for that same reason… he reminded us that there is always a price to pay for advancements in technology. It was interesting to read that you gave up social media. Has it been hard for you to be without it? I read a book this summer called “How to Break Up With Your Phone” to help me have a better relationship with social media. It taught me a lot about the importance of balance and priorities. I would love to hear more about your experience of giving it up! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. It actually wasn’t really hard at all. I didn’t go on it as much as maybe most people. I miss sometimes seeing what people are up to but when I think of all the negatives I’m ok with being a little on the dark.

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  4. I feel like I am always struggling to find a balance in terms of technology for my own kiddos and myself and Covid only amplified the challenge. I was “Plugged In” all day homeschooling my own kiddos and then plugged in teaching all day! My kids were plugged in for all of their school work and then wanted their down time on screens. I had to consciously schedule walks throughout our day, so I wasn’t miserable by the evening. I worry for kiddos and families that don’t have that “unplugged” time and love that your working on teaching your students fun ways to unplug.

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  5. Hi Lisa! Thanks for the hearfelt post. I started watching The Social Dilemma as well, and it really is unnerving the impact Social media is having on us, our students, and our children. It worries me as Gabriella moves into that world. I agree with the need to unplug. Since March, I have found that me, Gabriella and many of my students experience fatigue. Our moods and habits change. Unplugging from time to time is exactly what we need. I still happily have my students pick up a pencil/pen to write and have ensured that it is part of the daily routine in class. It is a beautiful moment to see my students’ heads down and furiously committing their thoughts to paper. Thanks again for the post!

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  6. Great post that is generating some great conversation 🙂 You point about enjoying life in general really hits home with the events in my life lately. I read the poem ‘The Dash’ at my mom’s funeral which basically asks what are you doing with the dash between the dates in your life … agree that we are only here for a short while so lets enjoy each other and focus on the things that really matter like family. Just like anything balance is key especially when plugging in … hopefully parents and educators can help kiddos /students work on their balance and stay grounded. Thank you.

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