Technology


In light of Bill McKibben’s book The age of missing information, taking time away from my iPod and putting it into time spent outdoors with God’s great creation, would do me a lot of good. Like television, my iPod presents me with a “relentless flood of information…[that] does not necessarily equal an understanding of our situation” (KcKibben, 2006, p. 162). It is harder for me to understand situation around me in real life if I am too involved in the virtual world.

I noticed this week, in regards to my iPod use, that as I got sicker (with a cold), I cared less about using my iPod. I was tired of it being in my face.

Some of the apps that I feel contribute good to my life are the calendar, calculator, and Bible apps. It’s nice not having to carry any of these items in my purse separately, which I used to do.

The Bible app is very handy and I use it frequently. It also has many religious e-books, commentaries and other study tools. The downside to using my iPod as my Bible is that some people do not understand that I am really reading from the Bible. How does this affect them? I do not know.

That would be interesting to find out.

McKibben, Bill. (2006). The age of missing information. New York, NY: Random House

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The technology that I want to focus on for my technology plan assignment is my iPod Touch. It has capabilities for internet, e-mail, twitter, apps and music. I can begin to see how it is biased toward taking over lives.
From my technology fasts, I know that my iPod is my most missed technology. I miss my calendar, e-mail, Words with Friends and music. However, it takes up my in-between moments with its noise. It would be much more productive to fill my in-between moments with prayer and thoughts relating to God. I was much more contemplative this week without my iPod.
Some quotes and sources that I found useful are listed below. (more…)

I must agree with Sommerville that news does indeed make us dumb! Our class has proven the fact with the many examples that we have shown from our recent news. I have really enjoyed read Sommerville’s book. He confirms my (not fully formed) thoughts on the news. I do not watch the news and I do not read papers. Any news I take in is from the internet, word-of-mouth, and information gathering to confirm any news I’ve heard from questionable sources.

I am by no means an excellent researcher, but I try to search out the truth when I hear a piece of news. It is a daunting task. There is so much information on the internet that it is difficult to sort through it and find the gems of truth.

It is also difficult to see the big picture in light of historicity. I believe Sommerville desires us be informed through other sources and to put our knowledge into historical context. Sommerville states, “My recommenation is that news be put in its place, perhaps on a monthly schedule but in more substantial amounts, and that it be read after we’ve read more substantial fare, if there’s time.” (1999, p. 142)

You can see from the above quote that he desires us to do other intellectual activities that naturally cause us to learn in a whole and productive way. “Now the news industry and its intellectual proponents will naturally respond, ‘But look how ill-informed the younger generation is already. Are you seriously proposing that they need less news?’ Yes.” (Sommerville, 1999, p. 149)

I believe our ability to find abundant examples of bad news this week shows us that he is correct. We need to focus not on this moment, but rather this decade or century.

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Sommerville, S. J. (1999). How the news makes us dumb: The death of wisdom in an information society. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity.

This week we focused our attention on discovering other technologies that fill the definition of a technopoly. The topic that I found most interesting was the diet industry.

I cannot say that I have used many diets or taken any kind of diet pills. However, I am overly conscious of my body and weight. I feel judged by it. In reality, it is the pervasive dieting culture that we have in the United States that causes me to judge myself.

We bought a Wii and in order to play the Wii Fit games, my children had to go through the weighing process. If I am not careful, my daughter will be judging herself prematurely.

I found the following insights most helpful.

“The U.S. Weight Loss and Diet Control Market study projects that the prescription diet drug revenue will grow at 13.5 percent, and diet books, cassettes and exercise videos at 12.1 percent, annually through 2012.” (Spicer, 2011)

According to the Center for Disease Control, the obesity rate in the United States has continued to grow over the past decade with an estimated 27% of Americans reported as obese in 2008, despite a growing diet industry that generates an estimated $59 billion of revenue annually. (Spicer, 2011)

Nancy Nohrden added to the conversation with, “Have you seen this ‘Dove Evolution’ video?”  (Nohrden, 2011) This video is a poignant example of the importance we place on our looks.

We must resist all of these technopolies. “A resistance fighter understands that technology must never be accepted as part of the natural order of things, that technology…is a product of a particular economic and political context and carries with it a program, an agenda, and a philosophy that may or may not be life-enhancing and that therefore require scrutiny, criticism, and control. (Postman, 1992, p. 184-185)

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Spicer, T. (2011, February 14). The next chapter of Technopoly – Tamela Week #4 [Msg 1]. Message posted to https:/sauonline.arbor.edu
Nohrden, N. (2011, February 14). The next chapter of Technopoly – Tamela Week #4 [Msg 6]. Message posted to https:/sauonline.arbor.edu
Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York, NY: Vintage.

This week has brought me the understanding of technology having biases. As I stated in my initial post, “my husband pointed out that all technology with a computer chip is based on the idea of yes or no, right or wrong. Programming is based on zeros and ones with the computer interpreting one’s answer into a category, essentially judging and categorizing one, and one’s choices.”

I have been challenged this week to reflect on what biases certain technologies have. I found this difficult because as Postman (1992) states, “Unforeseen circumstances stand in the way of all those who think they see clearly the direction in which a new technology will take us. Not even those who invent a technology can be assumed to be reliable prophets, as Thamus warned.”

Dr. Creasman responded with,

“That, I think, is a key to this whole idea of technology having ‘morals’, incredible as it sounds. If technologies have a ‘correct way to function’ they will find that function, regardless of the inventor’s intentions. Often these ‘morals’ arise and are discovered when the technology comes to full fruition and social saturation. We really didn’t see the power of the telephone until it went ‘cellular’ and freed itself of its wires. Now the power of the phone can be seen. And perhaps the bias/word you are looking for is ‘omnipresence.’”

The idea that anyone or anything should think itself omnipresent (a characteristic that should only be applied to God) is astonishing!

Kevin also prodded me to determine what I meant when I use the word ‘truth’. My answer, in my own words, would be that truth is founded in God. God is the ethical value that individuals and society should follow and imitate in their daily lives. Because God is unchangeable, so is truth.


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Creasman, P. (2011, February 9). RE: The Cylons [Msg 3]. Message posted to https:/sauonline.arbor.edu
Hooton, E. (2011, February 8). The Cylons [Msg 1]. Message posted to https:/sauonline.arbor.edu
Lawson, K. (2011, February 9). Family Interactions and Truth [Msg 2]. Message posted to https:/sauonline.arbor.edu
Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology (p.15). New York, NY: Vintage.

This week’s subject is one that is near to me. Last year, I realized that I was addicted to my computer, iPod and the internet. I had been trying to hide from my emotions by being constantly occupied with my computer. While I was mostly able to cover my fears, I was depressed from lack of intimacy with others. Postman states, “The computer is, in a sense, a magnificent toy that distracts us from facing what we most needed to confront — spiritual emptiness, knowledge of ourselves, usable conceptions of the past and future.” (Postman, 1990)

Schultze states, “Informationism encourages informational promiscuity: impersonal relationships based on feigned intimacies and lacking moral integrity.” (Schultze, 2002, p.35) I was being promiscuous with my children and husband. For example, my daughter was being bullied. She was acting strangely, getting poor grades and saying that she wished she were dead. I should have seen those signs, but the computer blinded me.

I do agree with what Postman says about technology having winners and losers. (Postman, 1992) We have given up a lot by our dependency on technology. Tamara noted that some technologies get pushed out by newer ones, like phonebooks for online directories. She points out that this causes us to forget how to use the older technologies.
I think of handwriting. No one takes time to learn to write beautifully anymore. Instead we learn a new texting language. That is useful in it’s own way, but so is handwriting.

Kevin D. Miller writes, “…the Amish have managed to keep technology in check, and in doing so they have fostered a sense of community that many of us yearn for in our electronically tethered and frenetically paced lives.” (Miller, 2011, p.20) I hope that by the end of this class I will have learned how to use technology in a discretionary way.



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Miller, K. D. “Technological prudence: What the Amish can teach us.” Christian
reflection: A series in faith and ethics. 38 (2011): 20-28. Print.
Postman, N. (11 Oct. 1990). “Informing ourselves to death.” [Speech] Retrieved
from http://www.mat.upm.es/~jcm/postman-informing.html
Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York,
NY: Vintage.
Schultze, Q. J. (2002). Habits of the High-Tech Heart: Living Virtuously in the
Information Age. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Tarrance, T. (2011, February 1). TTarrance – Week 1 [Msg. 1] Message posted to:
https://sauonline.arbor.edu

In Online but off-topic, Paulus (2009) completed a study of the conversations that occur in groups, specifically during online learning, that are not strictly on-topic. These off-topic discussions were ones that included the logistics of completing tasks. They are still relevant to the learning environment, but are not discoursing on the subject matter.

She found that certain actions help to create a close group. These include grounding (group members finding common ground between themselves) and immediacy (behaviors that reduce distance between the members). More specifically, the grounding strategies used by the participants in her study, “included indicating responsiveness, taking responsibility and maintaining relationships.” (Paulus, 2009, p.242)

These ideas are well backed by other research and included in our Student Guide. Some online techniques that I would like to try to use are sending weekly updates on group projects (maybe even in video format) and sending friendly e-mails to get to know my peers better. I believe I need to continue to interact in a way that shows I value and depend on my peers by showing warmth, empathy, and my true personality. I can do this through typing out a prayer for the requests posted, being sympathetic when someone is struggling and asking questions before taking offense.

I would love to also get together with my classmates and make use of that offline scaffolding technique. I live about 3 hours away, but I might be able to drive down if my schedule permits on the chosen day. I would love to meet face to face. I am not good at putting faces and posts together and would do much better meeting people in person.

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Paulus, T.. (2009). Online but off-topic: negotiating common ground in small learning groups. Instructional Science, 37(3), 227-245.  Retrieved February 8, 2011, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 1894674491).

White, K.W., & Baker, J.B. (Eds.) (2003). The student guide to successful online learning: A handbook of tips, strategies and techniques. Allyn & Bacon, Publishers.

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