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Frontline’s digital nation documentary
I sent this email to my faculty - in the high school and elementary school:
Last night PBS aired a remarkable documentary about digital life in 2010. I found the documentary truly, truly, exceptional. I would really appreciate if you could take the time to watch this - perhaps this evening or this weekend.
Last week I sent you a link to a study that stated the average child spends 10.4 hours a day using some type of media. I think we could all benefit from a discussion about how technology is changing the way our children learn, think, and see the world.
I hope to lead a more thoughtful discussion about computers, media, and learning this year. Until then, I would really appreciate if you could watch this documentary.
Here is a reply I received from a teacher:
I did watch the Frontline documentary, “Digital Nation,” last evening, and I must say that it was, as is customary of Frontline, very incisive and comprehensive. Many parts of the program, particularly those addressing the effects of technology on young people, were very unnerving. The situation in Korea should be seen as cautionary to the western world, particularly to us here in America with our almost idolatrous love for all things technological. That poor Korean mother has already “lost” her son to computer games, as far as I’m concerned because the son as lost his soul to the machines. I felt both sad and angry when I saw that part.
For my part, as an educator and specifically as a language educator, I have very mixed feelings about the use of technology in the classroom. On one hand, it has made it possible to access, literally, the world with the click of a mouse. But I am equally concerned about the “losses”: the loss of true attentiveness; the loss of the printed word; the loss of community and relationships and the increase of anonymity and the impersonal. “Digital Nation” posed many, hard questions about this but offered no easy answers. That’s where we come in. But it is very important that those questions get asked.