High Tech, Forget the High Touch


The same campus paper that brought you the editorial “Don’t IM me, touch me” in September, featured a very different editorial today: “iPod is my iGod“, by Erin Roof. This is a funny, but very different take of the role of technology in the life of current college students. A few excerpts here, to get the whole effect, follow the link above to read the editorial πŸ™‚

Along with drowning out nature, my iPod also helps me deal with social situations. As I walk to and from class, I can easily pass hundreds of people. I breeze right by. If I see one of the few people I deem “iPauseworthy,” I may unplug my ears for a brief conversation. But this rarely happens.

To others in the millennial generation, this is not offensive. The people I pass are also lost in the social oblivion of wheeling through playlists or gabbing on their cell phones, retelling sordid details of their personal lives to the people they would rather be talking to. No one cares.Older people don’t understand. They see our addiction to technology as a cause for concern. They think we have become too isolated and risk not becoming properly socialized.The downside is, I will probably be completely deaf in 10 years from listening to my music at full blast. The large tumor growing on the side of my face from the radiation of too many cell phone conversations will also render me unable to leave my bedroom.

But it will be 2016. I can just recoil into my 3-D alternate universe and never have to see anyone in person again. Awesome.

Thanks Erin for providing me with a funny yet thought-provoking editorial today. I’ll make sure to keep walking when I pass you by on campus. πŸ˜‰


Image credit: leydensjar’s photostream:


3 responses to “High Tech, Forget the High Touch

  1. Technology is changing our social lives so much… but I am old, “I come from the Batman era, adding items to my utility belt while students today are the Borg from Star Trek, assimilating technology into their lives.”
    That quote is from my recent blog, but a good read is ‘A Story About a Tree’ that I named my blog entry after here:
    I provide a link to the original story.
    The scary part is that we really might not ‘need’ to see others again, but we are connecting to others in ways that just weren’t possible not too long ago. Finding a balance between these two is going to be the hot ‘self-help’ topic of the next decade.

  2. David,
    I think you are right in that we are seeing a generational gap when it comes to communication technology, sometimes called the participation gap. Younger generations of people aren’t as hesitant to connect in ways that are not necessarily face to face. As you say, escape is both a cost and a benefit of this type of communication.
    However, you pose the question: “How do we get students to engage rather than escape?” when it comes to education. I’m not sure that the answer here is either escape or engage. It all depends on what or who students are escaping from, and what they “should” be engaged in. I can think of plenty of examples of students who are completely tuned out to school, yet extremely engaged in learning of some sort, but maybe not the type of learning that we are accustomed to in our more traditional views of education that are still very strong.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more Mark,
    Here is some writing of an ex-student of mine that I keep in touch with…
    15 years old and completely in charge of her own learning… while out of school at least.
    Can we give a student like this the means to fit her interest in Voltaire for example, while at school? Does she have to leave the confines of the classroom before she can ‘escape’ into a meaningful learning space? My hope is that schools can be the inspiration for this kind of learning… but I can’t say that my classroom invites it as much as I wish it did.

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