Webometric Thoughts

September 16, 2009

Can you question technology without being labelled a Luddite?

Filed under: Twitter,luddite — admin @ 8:59 am

Researchers have warned that technology addiction among young people is having a disruptive effect on their learning [via the BBC]. Like so many academic reports, it provides support for the bleeding obvious. If I, a middle-aged cantankerous git who regularly rails against the whole of humanity and desires nothing more than to be left alone on an island with a pile of books, finds myself regularly distracted by the temptations of social media, how much more so the social teenager who wants to reach out to the world.

Yet some people are not happy with such reports:

Twitter gives little room for elaboration, instead opinions become polarized. The report becomes ‘pants’ and the authors ‘Luddites’. There are questions that may be raised about the wording in the study, and the changing nature of ‘learning’ in a connected world, but Twitter gives little room for such subtleties.

When people talk about technology being neither good nor bad, they are often providing a defence against a technology’s misuse. It is important that we don’t automatically presume that a technology is good, but continue to question the effect technology is having. Albeit at the cost of being called Luddites.

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