Human beings consider themselves the most technologically advanced species on earth. They are the most advanced species because of the technology they possess. However, a comparison of the technological advancement made in the previous two centuries to that of the other two millennia will reveal that there is an accelerated advancement in the human technology. There is general progress in technological know how. Consider the number of people that know how to operate a smartphone. By no means does this imply that ancient civilizations lacked technology. Every culture at every point in history had their version of technological advancements. Consider the Egyptians using pullies and wedges to move the large rocks that built the pyramids or the Mongols utilizing the bow and arrow to conquer new territories. Throughout history, humans have rated their success based on the technology they have made, and at every given point, humans have shown a dependence on these technological advancements. This paper discusses the influence of technology on human thinking and how this affects education.
As (Roszak 10) says," Ideas come first. because ideas define, contain, and eventually produce information." Every technology began as an idea. Whether it was the pulley in Egypt, the bow and arrow in Mongolia, the gunpowder in China or the rocket in Nazi Germany. These technological advancements first started as an idea that sought to solve a problem. A problem such as growing crops in the desert required the flood irrigation technology that allowed societies to thrive. The problem such as instant communication across long distances caused the invention of the telephone and the telegraph. The need for a better form of energy created electricity. Much of the modern technology today depended on someone having an idea to solve a problem in the society. The continuation or improvement of these technologies is largely dependent on the ability of the system to teach the young generation about the fundamentals of technology. Education is the method through which humans pass down knowledge. However, according to (Roszak 9), students may not be getting the right kind of training.
Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to understand the purpose of education. The primary goal of the American education system is to provide the fullest development for every learner to live morally, creatively and productively in a democratic society such as the United States of America. The key words here are "morally," creatively," and "productively." These three words describe the core purpose of American education. However, the current society doesn't have clear guidelines on morality. According to (Grudin 2), "with ideology, we may appear to be well informed, analytically skillful, inquisitive and morally responsible without being so." To better understand this paper will use the example of the rocket. The inventor of the rocket had intended it for space flight. However, the idea was used for a different purpose of war to create the famous V-2 rocket that hit London. The inventor, Wernher von Braun, was famously quoted saying, "the rocket worked perfectly except landing on the wrong planet." The example goes to show with technology there are no clear guidelines on whether its used the right way or not. Technology such as the calculator was invented to help with complex mathematical calculations, but its introduction in school means that students use the calculator to perform the simplest of calculations that they would have otherwise used their brain. Such uses of technology go against the core purpose of technology which was to increase creativity.
But despite these apparent shortcomings on the part of science and technology, there is no doubt that technology is destined to penetrate even further into the education system. Already digital libraries are giving physical libraries a run for their money. Digital libraries are cheaper and more efficient to run compared to physical libraries. Also, there is the issue of space which is limited in physical libraries. The thought of visiting a website, typing in some keywords and letting the computer do the rest is indeed more appealing compared to sorting out rows and rows of books in physical space that carry related content. The internet technology is undoubtedly more efficient because it increases productivity in terms of the information that one can gather during a specified duration. But as (Roszak 10) says, the amount of data is not the problem. The current generation has more information than all the previous generations combined. The issue becomes how humans process this information.
The use of technology in the educations system has some foreseeable impacts. The inception of technology into the education system has reduced the student's ability to think independently. Scientists are no longer creating technology to manipulate the physical environment but rather the human psychology. The Chinese and Russians are working on systems to subject the human mind to ruthless and highly efficient conditioning (Huxley 26). The effects of technology on the education is that produces a workforce that thinks and acts like machines. According to (Huxley 27), dictators like Adolf Hitler failed in their quest to establish a totalitarian government because they lacked the technology and knowhow to subject everyone under a single form of thinking.
Technology has unified the world. Because of technology the world is experiencing its most peaceful period in history. The wars and crusades that ravaged humanity during the middle ages are gone only because of the ability of technology to unify humankind into one global community. (Langer 48) says that," Of all born creatures, man is the only one that cannot live by bread alone." This quote implies that human life is made up of a lot of complexities such as relationships, symbols purpose and many more. The entry of technology has manipulated the human mind to the point where the brain lacks imagination. Dreaming is now shaped by technology which means that humans are unable to differentiate facts from fiction.
The advancements in technology are irreversible, and it is a fact that the world will continue to realize greater technological advancements. In the old days, a parent or an older sibling could tell their child what tomorrow will be like (Clark 19). One could predict the future with a very high accuracy rate. The human life had two main stages. The first stage involved acquiring knowledge while the second stage involved applying this knowledge. The changes that were taking place then were almost stagnant. It took decades, sometimes centuries before a new technology came into effect. The modern world is anything but slow. Change is happening in the second. No one truly knows what tomorrow will be like leave alone next year. To cope up with these changes learning has to be focused on adaptations. Acquiring knowledge should not be the focus of education anymore. Students have an almost limitless supply of knowledge. Students should be taught to adapt to the changing conditions. School is only as viable as its application. A person spends their time acquiring knowledge, but they are not quite sure of what to do with the knowledge gained.
The current generation lives in the information age. A time when information is power. Human progress depends on how well a person applies knowledge because everyone has access to information. The current system of education is not compatible with the changes that are taking place. The penetration of technology into education means that people have a whole lot of information but few ideas on how to use this information. Ideas should precede knowledge because by having an idea one can discern the type of information they want. The current generation of students lacks imagination. Television sets, laptops and mobile phones mean that they depend on other people's imagination. Their brain functions require creativity. The current crop of learners shows the inability to think independently. They display the group mentality and are incapable of questioning authority. The current education system has to evolve to accommodate technology. The old method of acquiring knowledge then applying it is not applicable in the modern world. Instead, the system should change to allow the acquisition and application of the knowledge and information simultaneously. Such a system will enable them to adapt to the changing world.
Clark, Mary E. "Science, and Values." Clark, Mary E. Human Nature: What We Need to Know about Ourselves in the Twenty-First Century. London: Routledge, 2004. 18-24. Print. 23 September 2018.
Grudin, Robert. "Ideology and Moral Philosophy." Grudin, Robert. The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1990. 2-9. e-copy.
Huxley, Aldous. "Propaganda under a Dictatorship." Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World Revisited. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1958. 26-33. Print.
Langer, Susanne K. "The Prince of Creation." Fortune 29 January 1944: 46-52. Print.
Roszak, Theodore. "Ideas Come First." Roszak, Theodore. The Cult of Information: The Folklore of Computers and The True Art of Thinking. 1st. New York: Pantheon, 1986. 9-16. e-copy. 23 September 2018.
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