Yes, technology is a great part of our lives, no doubt about that. And nothing seems to change that for a good while. I don't know about you, but the more technology we have, the more often I find myself wanting to escape from it all. Sometimes I feel "filled up" and I just want to be, well, human for a while. You know? I quit Facebook earlier this year because I missed the human touch, the hand on my shoulder or the good old handshake. Putting the TV dinner into the microwave might be quick and easy, but the dinner will never taste as good and real as when you cook it yourself from scratch. Poking your friend on Facebook will never feel as good or real than a real hug.
Having one laptop per child will never be as good, real, effective and helpful as having one teacher per child.
Technology is already changing us. And I am not sure it is a good thing. Sometimes we prefer the unreal, the technological, the electrical, before the human, the real and the analogue. And we do this in situations where we perhaps would be better off by choosing differently. So why are we always talking about technology when we talk about "being modern" and "ready for the future"?
I asked my students (15 years old) what they think will be the most important qualifications 30 years from now. No one said anything about using laptops, working with computers or using smartphones. Here's what they said:
- it will be important to have a great deal of empathy
- it will be important to show people that you care about them
- it will be important to have an education
- it will be important to know how to be among people
- it will be important to help people who need help
- it will be important to be able to communicate, to learn and know languages
- it will be important to take care of our world
- it will be important to no what is right and what is wrong
And I agree. If you have these qualifications you are modern, you are ready and prepared for whatever future. In order to teach our kids this, we can only be human and we can only let humans do it. The machines, well, they may be able to communicate with us and other machines, but they will never put a hand on your shoulder or give you a hug when you need it.