While the internet is home to many sources of nonsense and stupidity, it also harvests an endless supply of knowledge that can easily be accessed by anyone. Not only is this information readily available, but so is the ability to fact-check all the information that one acquires. Sure, many of what you may find on the internet is not necessarily true, but you can easily discern factual information from the fabricated information. In Cathy Davidson’s article, “We Can’t Ignore the Influence of Digital Technologies,” Davidson discusses the benefit of the internet and developing technologies, mainly in context to a Wikipedia “ban” enacted by the history department at Middlebury College. Davidson goes on to discuss that Wikipedia is incredibly reliable, constantly being updated and edited, and goes beyond the spans of an encyclopedia, functioning as a “knowledge community” as well. Davidson argues that, rather than “resorting to the “Delete” button” we should “make the practice of research in the digital age the object of study,” which is a brilliant idea
that has not developed at this point as much as it should have. Certain aspects of the internet and technology are detrimental to our cognitive functioning only when we use the two improperly. There are very clear aspects of both the internet and budding technology that can and will be incredibly beneficial, so long as we use them correctly. For the most part, we just need to emphasize and utilize the benefits in order to eliminate the deficits. The more we focus on the good of technology, the less time we have to indulge in the bad. In order to do this, education must embrace all the educational aspects of technology (i.e. interactive games, “knowledge communities,” forums, etc.).
I really liked that Davidson emphasized using the tools available online “critically, conscientiously, and creatively.” I feel that this should really be incorporated into public school curriculums. As we become more dependent on technology, we need to learn how to use it in a way that will benefit us and allow us to think, as opposed to using the internet as a substitute to our own thought. While a Pokemon game can be mindlessly used, if encouraged, it can teach a child how to read and to create, as demonstrated by the five-year-old Davidson discusses. The more we encourage specific kinds of technological use, the more we can expand our creative minds starting at a young age. While I still believe technology should be used in moderation, I do not disagree with any of what Davidson says. The technology we as a society have created was not made to encourage mindlessness. Rather, it was created for research, for connectedness, and for expanding knowledge and must continue to be used for such. Banning the use of certain aspects of the internet in schools does not at all encourage the purpose of technology. What is the point of having computers in school if students are not free to explore all the world has to offer?
Written by: Maya Sicherer
In Response to: “We Can’t Ignore the Influence of Digital Technologies”