Books, Tech, and Education

Personally, I am a bookist – Give me the careworn pages of a book any day. Let me take a deep dive into the material, themes, author’s thoughts, and critical connections. Consequently, I was thrilled to discover 2009 web article by Mark Bauerlein.

Bauerlein’s “Books Can’t Compete” points out an accurate picture of the challenges associated with encouraging students to love reading in a culture steeped in media. Wtech2hile it’s true that books are accessible through digital media, I agree with the author’s central point that digital media is often linked with unsound reading practices.  I’ve seen Bauerline’s example of extreme technology use played out in the campus library as students simultaneously type a paper, listen to a media player, and open a friend’s text. Kudos to Bauerlein for challenging the value of digital culture tasked with “attracting eyes and holding them there.” I would even move the author’s conclusion further to suggest that we reinforce an ADD culture by making it socially-acceptable use technology in education to entertain instead of instruct.

When we prioritize entertainment over the thrill of discovery, we have dulled intellectual curiosity instead of feeding it. Mind-numbing entertainment, I feel, is the real danger of technology. Reading a book can be exciting, not because it’s hyperlinked or available in audio and video formats, but because challenging what I know and believe about the world helps me to see it with new eyes.

As an educator working online and campus environments, I use technology to enhance content. In contrast, Bauerlein uses a metaphor to explain technology as a tsunami that can easily overwhelm children. Unlike Bauerlein, I feel that the new influx of technology can be a powerful tool if used to meet learning goals.  I strategically hold back the tide of new tech when I select the software that will improve curriculum I am developing. We must be wary of inserting fad-technologies into lesson plans to entertain students. For me, there is a balance.

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  • Patricia
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    When we prioritize entertainment over the thrill of discovery, we have dulled intellectual curiosity instead of feeding it. Mind-numbing entertainment, I feel, is the real danger of technology.

    agree!!!

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