In the following post, Daryl Nardick, Senior Project Consultant & Director of Strategic Project Integration at CNDLS, questions some widely held assumptions about students’ attitudes toward technology.
Meandering through campus, rarely do you see a student who is not texting, listening to music, talking on a cell phone, or otherwise engaging with personal technology. While there might be a tendency to criticize students for their reliance on technology, seldom do we hear faculty wonder what students themselves think about their own constant 24/7 connection to the digital world. And it turns out that the answer to that question might surprise many of us.
One professor at the University of Washington did more than wonder. David Levy, professor at UW’s Information School, started asking his students along with students at universities across the country how they feel about being constantly connected. Surprisingly, he discovered that students are not as enamored with technology as many of us might think. To paraphrase one young man, “every once in a while I need to lie down on my floor and just block out all of the sounds in order to get quiet and to hear myself.” Students from across the country participating in David’s informal research have voiced similar sentiments about their relationships with digital technologies.
I for one am interested in testing out with students my assumptions on this topic, and I wonder if there are others here at GU who might feel the same way. And if indeed during these conversations we find that our students are not as enamored with today’s digital communications devices as some of us might suspect, then the question is – what is our role as educators in helping our students cope with the increasing pressure to adopt these tools? Surely this is a topic worth exploring here at Georgetown when David Levy visits us in September 2009. Stay tuned for more details on his visit.
For more information on David Levy’s work, see his presentation on “No Time to Think” .