Like many of you, my inbox fills up quickly. If I check my mail before going to sleep, I wake up at 6:30 or 7:00 AM to 50+ new emails. A third are from people in different time zones. The other two-thirds are newsletters, Google news alerts (my daily me), ads and announcements. Amid that influx of emails, one subject stuck out last week, a conference on Meaningful Living and Learning in the Digital World, scheduled for May 27-29 in beautiful Savanna, Georgia. It was refreshing to see a conference devoted to the human side of learning and learning in an increasingly high-tech world.
As some of you know, my doctorate is in instructional technology, but in some ways, I hacked the program to focus upon the social, cultural, psychological, and philosophical side of life and learning in an technological world. In fact, to add more of a humanistic bent to my doctoral dissertation, I completed a second master’s in humanities while writing my dissertation.
I’ve always been drawn to questions about human implications, whether it was unexpected health implications of children’s early immersion in technology-rich contexts or what Neil Postman calls the Faustian bargain of technology. As part of this thinking, I’ve gone on inquiry walkabouts that included the study hacker culture, Amish culture, the history of the Luddite movement, and neo-luddite perspectives on technology. As much as I’ve an advocate for educational innovation and leveraging technology for social good, I continue to welcome the civil war that goes on inside of me regarding the unexpected and/or negative impact of technological advancements.
Our innovations will almost always develop faster than our ethics and moral compass in the digital world. That is why conferences like these are refreshing and important. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to make it this year, but I wanted to at least post this to demonstrate my support for it. Thank you to all who are making such an event possible!