The second half of Reclaiming Conversation consisted of many thoughts in which I can relate to. For a moment, I was thinking “so she does think technology helps us in a learning environment!” Suppose Dr. Porter applies an event or topic to a theoretical concept, but I don’t have much knowledge of his example. I have two options:
- Use my computer for independent research, which may enable participation or a better understanding
- Stare at the professor without grasping the lesson
The author might suggest that I ask Dr. Porter to elaborate on the example, but why would I slow things down? My device provides an immediate response. I recall numerous instances where I have defined a word, sought clarification, and more- all in the middle of a conversation. Then, I have had a lot of “huh” moments in the middle of a lecture or discussion due to multi-tasking.
One of my professors posted a discussion board on Moodle and requested that we share research topic ideas for our final project. A few people posted research interests. Others simply responded to the posts, expressing their liking of the topic. There are a few problems with feature itself rather than the professor’s use of the tool.
“No one liked my idea,” stated two of my classmates. My classmates assumed this being that no one responded. In fact, I thought both were great ideas, so I didn’t feel the need to comment or ask questions. Instead, I assumed we would have an insightful conversation during class. In the tech world, lack of response constitutes as lack of favorability. If given the opportunity to express orally, the students would have been able to elaborate. Unfortunately, online communication is far more complex than it seems. Sometimes, discussion boards and Google docs are harder to interpret versus words and gestures. As I mentioned last week, technology limits opportunities. In this situation, we missed out on what could have been significant research.
Most professions require heavy use of technology- emails, presentations, online grade books, etc. Think about how much time we spend at work (or school). Some Americans spend eight or more hours plugged in. You would think one is ecstatic to go home and talk to their family members. It is, however, somewhat complicated to look forward to face-to-face conversations when the world around you promotes the exact opposite. Doctors do not have to talk with their patients, as results are posted to an online portal. Any person can give a webinar without looking at their audience, or not know what type of people comprise the audience. Instead, the presenter is giving a presentation to a screen- not on it. Whom, or what, are we talking to?
As the author said, let us not wholeheartedly depend on technology to solve our problems. The solution is nonsensical in a digital age, but I believe we should reclaim conversation. When I say conversation, I’m not referring to robotic interactions. Not too long ago, conversations were oral exchanges of ideas and sentiments. I think we’d be surprised at the outcome.