Another dot in the blogosphere?

Do not be a dogmatic smombie

Posted on: May 2, 2016

Anyone who says X must be placed before technology needs to carefully consider whether this is always the case. In education, X is often pedagogy.

I have explained before why this dichotomous, cart-and-horse thinking is outdated. So to provoke refection, I share another example, this one closer to our hearts.

I am referring to our smartphones and how these wonders of technology change the way we talk and walk.

They change us so much that in 2014, the city of Chongqing, China, created pavements for smombie (smartphone zombie) pedestrians.

The same paper reported how Ausberg, Germany, is experimenting with traffic lights embedded in pavements for pedestrians who do not look up.

The casual reader might comment that these smartphone users are not being very smart. This does nothing to deflect the fact that such Darwin award-winning behaviours are increasingly common.

While local governments and schools will probably be involved in multi-pronged efforts to dissuade smombie walking, the fact remains that mobile phones have already shaped behaviours. The “technology effect” preceded other actions and reactions.

It is important to recognise that this happens and question what might become dogma like pedagogy-before-technology.

I am not saying that pedagogy is not important. I make a living off promoting progressive pedagogy in my workshops and seminars. I am saying that we should question our assumptions and work within different contexts.

To ignore that is to be dogmatic. That is just like being fixated on a mobile device while crossing the road instead of paying attention to environment.

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