And all that tech. High tech.

Things are changing. I’m afraid change can’t be stop, particularly nowadays when the distance between people can be reduced with a touch of a screen. Various technological innovations have become part of our life, and it’s quite difficult to imagine how life would be without them. We’ve become so used to them that we tend to use them every time we face a challenge. We choose the easiest way. We choose technology to solve it for us, or, maybe as some of us would like to put it, to let technology help us solve the problem. Either way, we gradually become more and more dependent on technological assistance.

It is quite challenging to say whether it is good or bad. I don’t think it is possible to take only one side in the debate. Just like in every walk of life the truth is somewhere in the middle. Undeniably, technology has brought so many benefits to our life, the way drugs did (i.e. medicines). But if we read the prescription, we also see the side effects the drug might have. The same can be said about technology. It’s the 21st century drug administered to us with no apparent prescription. Who is to worn us about its side effects then?

Actually, quite a number of people try to draw our attention to the side effects AI is bringing into our life. The most alarming warnings come from neuroscientists, people studying our brain (actually the way neurons interact in the brain). The prognosis they make looks far from optimistic if we continue to act with the same recklessness as we do now. Their prognosis can be displayed in the popular funny picture which can be easily found on the Internet.

Evolution_Funny-05-560x179

Yet, it’s funny to a certain extent. This regression might be not that far away. We, as human beings, should always strive to develop our brain, rack our brain. I was once curious to see what the origin of this idiom was, and I read that the rack was a medieval torture instrument. The verb was used to mean to cause pain and anguish. The irony is that nowadays, the process of thinking might be viewed as one extremely painful, a real torture. Why bother, if you can rely on AI? Why develop higher order thinking skills if you need just basic to live in the illusion of perfect bliss.Why think (i.e. do some mental activity, make some extra effort) if AI can think for you?

As a language educator, I was interested (and still am) how it is possible to integrate technology into the classroom. Yet, now I don’t show that much enthusiasm about it. There is evidence that technology-free classrooms might perform better in exams.  Another ample study found out that using computers at school might not result in students’ high performance. What is more, it appeared that students who used computers more had both lower reading and lower math scores.

Indeed, a teacher should be very careful when considering to integrate technology into the education process. It should not be a mere fashionable tool to use. The teacher should ask themselves: ‘Is it going to help me realize my goals? Is it the best way of doing it? What would be the drawbacks (i.e. side effects) of applying it in my teaching?’

The issue of technology integration in the education process should be thoroughly considered. Nowadays, Isaac Asimov’s warnings in his short story The Fun The Had do not seem so frightening. The danger is that humanity might lose its thinking capacity altogether. I’m not sure AI would need us 🙂

To cut a long story short, we should be responsible technology consumers, both inside and outside the classroom. It can be extremely useful if administered in small doses. Yet, excess might lead to fatal consequences. Actually, excess is always fatal.

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8 Responses to And all that tech. High tech.

  1. Maria Grubîi says:

    Hello, and thank you for this post about a really important subject in our days. I agree with you, and I want to add some of my personally thoughts about this fact. The era of technology is in a permanent development which will probably not be a positive thing for humanity.
    How can I imagine life on earth over 100 years? Probably as it is described in the story of Isaac Asimov. It will be the era of robots in which, even if people will survive, I don’t think there would be space for feelings, humanity or relationships between people. This topic has worried me in recent years. It all started on the day I noticed that my niece at 3 years old was so dependent to the phone. In that moment, different thoughts, memories and questions flew into my mind. I thought and still think that digital devices are a kind of system that confuses us more than it helps us.
    Could you remember the first personal Facebook, Instagram, odnoklassniki or tweeter account, the first sent or received email? ….Could you remember your first cell phone or computer? Could you remind the feelings that went through you when it happened to you? I could… For me it was incredible. It was unbelievable as I could not understand how people can send letters, brief or long, and to receive the answer through one box, one insignificant box but with such a complicated system, how people can speak and see each other from different sides of the World. One said technology is progress. Progress of what I asked myself? Progress of being separated by these devices? Or progress of the communication’s insufficiency?
    I also, remember when I first held a phone in my hand, when I asked my sister to let me play with that snake that was always circling. I was satisfied for 10 minutes and then I was flying outside. What will be with my children? I asked myself. The future scares me. Would I be able to educate values in them? Or how to behave in a society? Would I be able to explain to them what good manners mean? but what is scarier is the idea that I won’t be able to convince them to go out to play. Moreover, I suppose if I could finally do that, my child would risk to stay alone on the grass because there will be no more children outside to play. The tendency of today’s society is to lock people in the house without interacting with each other. Isn’t this a trembling phenomenon? I believe that in school teachers should dose this help from technologies. Yes, they help us, and of course they could save us. But we don’t have to rely solely on them,I mean high-tech. There is the human factor that cannot be replaced by anything. I am sure that one like on a post on Facebook by a child should not be more pleasing than an apple or a drawing given in class and made by his or her hand. It is very sad … Teachers should focus on their relationship with children, and more than that to pay attention to the relationship between children. It could be accomplished through more group work, collaboration and commuication. Each child has his own personality, it would be good for teachers to know this. I think they should avoid the influence and permanent use of technologies, concentrating more to human values. Pupils don’t need a perfect teacher. They need a teacher who gets them attention and affection. A teacher who smiles and do not stay in cellphone during the lesson. A teacher who is not indifferent to their personalities. I hope that every person, not just teachers or parents will realize the importance of being human. Because we are only humans and we make mistakes.
    I recommand you to listen again a song that I like so much. Rag’n’Bone Man – Human
    (I’m sorry if I sent you this comment two times, I do not know exactly if it works now or then)

    • vickycondrat says:

      The future you foresee is quite tragic. But if people become aware of the problem they might react in a way, don’t you think so? What if we engage in raising awareness? By the way, you would agree to the recent law adopted by our ministry of education that forbids the use of phones at school. The school managers have to come up with a plan where to store the phone while children are at school. Don’t you think that this law should be applied to university students as well?

      • Maria Grubîi says:

        yes, of course, I think that the change starts with each one of us. I hate the times when you want to go out with someone in downtown for a pizza or something like this. Because personally, I enjoy moments with whom I go out. But when I notice that the discussion goes to the moment when the interlocutor or interlocutors stay with the face on the phone and with a finger just moving …my blood circulates faster through my veins.
        I think that if the ministry of education would approva such law at the University(which as far as I know it is already present in some states of the USA) it would be an absolute shock. And not only for students / pupils but also for teachers. Students are already taught not to think on their own but to quickly open their first friend Google and Evrica!!!- the answer appears on the screen. What is our brain doing at that time? It probably has the most beautiful dreams 🙂 But over time I think that students will get used to the law. The same case was with the video cameras at the baccalaureate exam. But another part of the coin is the teachers’ situation. It will be much more difficult for them. It will take more effort to include all the children in the activity, because it is probably not a big deal for some of them that some are bored and find amusement on the phone. What do you think about that?

  2. vickycondrat says:

    When it comes to teachers, if there are some who do this, I think it’s completely unethical. Almost the activities should be designed to engage all students. And maybe this ban would favour all the parties involved in the education process.

  3. Paladichuk Lada says:

    It should be mentioned, that the 21st centers began with a set of changes, which penetrates in our daily life. These changes appeared very often and become extremely notecieble .it brings positive and negative effects in one and the same package. The digital revolution has altered conceptions of time and distance. It has created a wealth of information that is available for every user. This digital centery strives to change not only the way we think , but also individual mind.( only ponder, how many times you hear from people about their social media, Facebook, YouTube , mail , Instagram. They lived in a delusive world, especially in Instagram , creating the need for a fake life and it is appropriate The most negative phenomenon observed. . A huge number of people spend their days glued to the app not only seeking validation by uploading pictures spend their entire day viewing photos of others. From every point of view this is a terrible waste of time.
    And you know, by little steps it will reach “ the rejection the reality” , because the majority of internet-users are addicted and can’t even resist , because their mind is captured by a great amount of web-sits. It means that instead of reading an actual book, people swipe their fingers across a screen to turn a page. Maybe it is a way of escaping reality, which seems so rough for users, and like the way out, they develop their life on the vast expanses of the Internet, putting on display that even not a bit is a reality. but this does not concern everyone.
    The fact is technology has a lot of issues including the possibility of being hacked and the challenge errors that can appear . We should be watchful and not to become a victim of such posts, which can mislead you.
    The story “ the fun they had” deals with the future of education which will become increasingly Computerized from social interactions. It is a progress, but it has harmful effects, because pupils will use it for their own perspectives. During the teaching process, a teacher should use the technological devices, because it is only appropriate way to capture their attention.
    I am tend to think that that we are over relying on technology thinking that in the future we won’t have to do anything without it. But It is a great mistake!
    If we put so much reliance on digital devices I worry that it will make us less human or completely distort our reality. We don’t take things at face value anymore, we are used to escape responsibility to make judgements and decisions on our own by using our senses and thoughts, instread we are looking at the world through the eyes of the technology and basing our decisions on what it dictates us.
    And know think ,if we continue this, will the humanity aspect totally disappear ?

    • vickycondrat says:

      Indeed, the use of technology can have a negative impact on people’s lives. You have pointed to them correctly. The biggest danger is that people may stop socializing altogether, preferring the illusions of online communication. I think you are right that the life people display online is far from the reality. And gradually people may want to live in these illusions. Yet, we shall also not underestimate the advantages technology has brought in people’s lives. So it’s vital to keep the balance in this case.

  4. Anastasia Ceban says:

    Ms. V. Condrat, I am sure you have familiar with the speeches delivered by such psychologists as Tatiana Cernigovskaia, Andrei Curpatov and others who permanently throw a light on those propound problems caused by AI. Doubtlessly, all this high tech technology hinders intensely our mental ability to think although it was initially created to be of great use for us. We always try to simplify things to make our existence easier, access to everything less complicated and thus, to free our time I do not know for. Unfortunately, these efforts backfire on us; as a result, we have a steadily increasing amount of children suffering from ADHD, suicides among teenagers, lower reading and writing scores, spreading illiteracy in the age when information of every imaginable kind can easily be found and processed. It’s disastrous.
    In my opinion, the process of thinking has always been a kind of discomfort because it urges the brain to fish out sometimes contradictory ideas and confront them to get to the core of the question or a dispute. One way or another, we should get out of our comfort zone (frankly speaking, I hate this omnipresent term as well as ‘coronavirus’) to go ahead, to advance and provide our personality with a steady ground to grow. I suppose, the problem here is that we are so used to easiness in everything that prefer to find someone’s truth on the Internet and consider it the product of our own brain.
    Moreover, I cannot see a distinct boarder line between generations in terms of the degree of dependence on AI. Even though we were raised without PC and almost all those cutting-edge devices we are keen on nowadays, my contemporaries and I myself can hardly picture our daily routine without chatting on social networks or watching a couple of videos every now and then. I see small children who burst into unstoppable tears if adults take away mobile phones or refuse to put on cartoons as a means of punishment for nasty behavior. I see young couples in a restaurant who it seems to me go there to make an imposing number of photos only. I see couples not in their first youth already who choose scrolling down the pages with news lying in bed before falling asleep instead of discussing the day. When did that dramatic switch happen? Is there any treatment for this illness? I don’t know.
    I agree with you on the idea that we as educators should always try to satisfy learner’s need and interests. Well, let us take for example PPT presentations. Children were excited about their apparition and introduction into lessons because it was something unknown. Very soon students became bored by the presentations for they didn’t sparkle learners’ interest any more. Well, if so teachers should get used to other kinds of “entertainers” which will become outdated soon as well. It doesn’t seem technology is on our side in this case as well as in many-many others.

    • vickycondrat says:

      Raising awareness is vital in this case. The moment people understand the harm of choosing the easiest way, they might reconsider their actions. The idea is that there is this eminent danger of becoming dumber and dumber. And the very fact that we need to ‘entertain’ is the result of ocer-simplifivmcation. The brain just stops developing. Difficult constructs are not even considered. We have to look for optimal ways of engaging and motivating our learners inside and outside the classroom. Technology could be used to help us realize this goal. Yet, it should be well-planned. One should not use it if it doesn’t contribute to the realization of the learning objectives.

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