The Impact of Technology

The Impact of Technology

As the use of technology becomes more easily accessible, there is no surprise that having access to technology has an impact on our personal lives and educational opportunities.  Technology impacts our personal lives and educational opportunities because we now have access to endless amounts of information.  In the past, teachers had the information and they taught the information to students, more recently, teachers have become facilitators to learning; Teachers no longer have all the information but rather, guide learning for students.  Having access to a variety of resources can help students gain knowledge and understanding more easily than ever before.

Technology can also negatively impact students’ lives in a variety of ways.  Many people have become consumed by technology and would rather spend time playing video games or watching YouTube videos than being active which can potentially be detrimental to one’s physical health.  Staring at screens too often can strain eyes and typing on a keyboard can cause carpal tunnel.   Being consumed by technology and digital communication can also impact communication skills.  When children are not exposed to enough human interaction, they are not gaining proper communication skills that are needed with any social interaction.  Technology also impacts our lives because most people now have a digital presence which can leave a digital footprint or tattoo.  Most everything that is done online can be traced back to us or left online to taunt us forever.  Inappropriate pictures and posts that we put online as teenagers can come back to haunt us as adults and potentially cost us jobs and careers if we are not constantly aware and cautious of what we are posting. 

Digital Tattoos, As Permanent As a Real Tattoo

Have you ever done a web search of yourself? If the answer is no, you might want to! As we join websites, post pictures, share on social media, etc., we are adding to our ‘digital tattoos’.   A digital footprint or tattoo is a potentially permanent mark everyone leaves as they use digital resources.  If we share a picture or make a post online, there is a chance that picture or post will be there forever.  Things that people do online can be permanent and affect future jobs because with a simple Google or Bing search, employers can potentially access things we shared in the past.  When we browse images, do online searches, or make purchases, we are leaving a digital footprint behind.  “Our digital footprint tells others: Where we’ve been, who we’ve been with, where we’ve wandered, [and] where we’re going.” (Johnson 2009)

The type of footprint we leave behind can be intentional and unintentional.  Unintentional footprints generally include websites we visit, searches, and even emails.  Although we are not always intending to leave a trail of evidence behind, we are.  Intentional footprints include information that we are purposefully leaving, such as, posting to a blog or social media site, posting pictures, and even ‘liking’ or ‘retweeting’.  Students should attempt to deliberately cultivate a positive digital footprint/ tattoo by using privacy settings, not oversharing, and being cautious of what they share, post, and view.  It is also important to frequently do searches of yourself to see what comes up, because you never know who else is searching for you. Intentional or not, everyone leaves a digital footprint behind.

The Importance of Net Neutrality in Education

Net neutrality matters to education.  Blocking or restricting sites and sources can cause biased information which can inhibit one’s ability to make educated and informed decisions and choices.  Education is about acquiring knowledge; if resources are blocked or regulated, that is preventing people from potentially gaining new knowledge.  Net neutrality ensures fair and equal access to online resources and experiences.  In education, we should want students to have access to a variety of resources to help gain deeper and greater understandings of information.

If the internet is regulated, content and curriculum for schools can be regulated based on corporate interest from the highest bidder.  According to Jessy Irwin’s 2014 article, Why Net Neutrality Matters to Education, “The loss of net neutrality would immediately impact free and open source web tools for education that could be edged out by for-profit competitors who can afford to pay for better access to their customers.” (Irwin, 2014).  Educators are provided resources but thrive with having a diverse range of free resources that can be easily accessed using simple internet searches.  The internet allows for free expression and innovation.  As an educator, I often create assignments that allow students to use digital resources to exhibit self-expression and creativity; If resources and programs are blocked or limited, so is a student’s ability for self-expression and creativity.  The internet can be used for competition but small start-up companies don’t have a chance if they are competing with multi-million dollar companies

Access to resources should not be controlled by internet providers, the government or companies to determine what can and should be seen on the internet.  Students and all people have a right to have access to information and just because the internet can be regulated, does not mean it should be regulated.  We should want people to have equal and fair opportunities to explore, learn, share, and exhibit self- expression.

Resources

TwC-InfoGraphic-HiRes

Johnson, S. (2009, November 9). Digital footprints- your new first impression. Retrieved 2017 Sep 16, from https://news.microsoft.com/twc-infographic-hires/

Warner, B. (2017, July 9). Net neutrality in education [Audio blog post]. Retrieved September 16, 2017, from http://edtech.tv/049-net-neutrality-in-education/

Common Sense Educators. (2014, September 04). Oversharing: Think Before You Post. Retrieved September 17, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyjd73tUXig

Life Noggin. (2015, February 05). Net neutrality explained in one minute! Retrieved September 16, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKB2cCarKUs

No Author. (2012, January 24). Infographic: What does your online image project about you?. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=192

References

Christensson, P. (2014, May 26). Digital Footprint Definition. Retrieved 2017, Sep 14, from https://techterms.com

Irwin, J. (2016, July 10). Why net neutrality matters to education. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-04-29-why-net-neutrality-matters-to-education