The Logic of Technagogy

Our advances in technology offer what we might call short-cuts to thinking and doing.

The logic of technagogy might be stated thus: the more technology we use in elementary and secondary schools the less the students need to think and do.  In other words, introducing children at younger ages and in a sustained fashion to trends in technology products will not yield a more intelligent or deliberate human.  It seems, rather, that the opposite would be true.

Perhaps a corollary might be that to learn deeply and thoroughly one should come to education as bereft of technology products as possible and continue that way.

Also, it might also be obvious that the common ground of our living is “technological.”  We should admit that our children are in many respects suckled at the teat of a technological mother.  We eat, drink and breathe technology.  We consume pixels as if they were top of the food pyramid.  It is a starvation diet.

Admitting this we might also assert that the children we know and parent and teach are already “tech savvy” and need no assistance from educational systems in order to learn how to be tech savvy.

About the only thing that I could imagine would be useful pedagogically to a child in a technological age would be to initiate the understanding of how these technologies actually work.  To create a mind that might actually be able to write code and speak the language of the binary Borg.  I shudder at that, but in some sense, it would at least be “useful” in our horrifying future.

So, how does it benefit children to use a technagogical curriculum?  It doesn’t.

It DOES benefit purveyors of technology products.  It does benefit people who promote technology education.  It does benefit school systems if they feel they can “educate” to “testing standards” hundreds of students via a computer program.  It allows them to cut the pesky human labor that costs way too much money.

But I honestly don’t really care about that.  Really.  I just get angry at the stupidity of arguments FOR educational use of technology as a learning tool.

I might offer that teaching math via tech programs makes some sense to me as I see it as a kind of “rote” language for the VAST majority of all humans.  You don’t need to know much to manage your life.  And again the LOGIC of Technagogy basically “programs” all mathematical functions into computer systems.  There can’t be much call for millions of students learning how to write programs that change how our “math” is computed.  It’s a subject suited for technology and that’s WHY it is pushed as a standard to make hay over.  It IS a calculable discipline.

But one doesn’t need education to give itself over to the lowest common denominator of rote factual learning.  One needs a school, a class, a teacher, a community to show the way towards humanity, understanding, sympathy, narrative, poetry, art, music.  These are NOT rote and factual but are rather multi-sensory and soulful.  These are the subjects that bring human life to a pinnacle of self-discovery and expression.

This is what we are undercutting and selling out from under our kids, our society.  These are the very things that make life worth living; the very things that encourage sharing and discussion and creativity.

The very things we are no longer able to do.  We believe music is a “sampling” medium.  This is our loss; this is us lost.

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2 Comments

  1. focus May 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I think it erodes their focus in many ways. The constant barrage of images on the computer or video game provide a more “interesting” view than the pages of a book. Although a book can transport you to a world far more interesting and vital than the world portrayed on the video game screen, it requires some work on your part–you need to allow your imagination free reign and let your mind work actively. The video game has the imagination go fallow and the hand-eye coordination and reflexive activity takes over.
    I do think that tech has changed our view and our set-points for certain activities. Your iPod allows you to choose the order of your music–not the artist who created it and envisioned a specific order of songs, performances etc. You now have control to negate that and create your own “playlist.” I find myself having less patience when reading articles and always racing through, skimming to “get to the point.” That’s not the way I used to read and it provides no enjoyment and does little to stimulate earnest thought about what I read.

    Reply
    1. Douglas Storm May 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

      In a previous post I made use of some work of Kenneth Burke regarding the psychology of form and the psychology of information. We have been stuck in the latter for so long that we do not know how to respond to the former.

      Reply

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