Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Real life is not virtual

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Some images are worth far, far more.

One glance a the image reveals that it is not recent - the drawing of the TV reveals the rampaging advances of technology since the image first appeared.  But the trend of viewing life via a screen rather than engaging with it directly is depicted clearly. Since this cartoon was first drawn technology has continued to evolve - we now not only have TVs, but computers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones, all of which allow us to access information from around the world - often in “real time”, as it happens.

In fact we have added a new word to the lexicon - “Screenager”. The term,  first used in 1997 by Douglas Rushkoff in Playing the Future, refers to the tech-savvy youngsters who seemingly have their retina’s permanently glued to some form of screen (or, more likely, scanning various screens almost simultaneously) and paying little attention, if any, to others around them.  

As educators we  need to remember that, despite the numerous strengths of seeing the world through a screen it is still a vicarious experience. It doesn’t matter how many manuals you read or videos you watch of other people riding bikes, you only really learn how to do it when you get on a bike and have a turn yourself.  Watching other people’s lives is not the same as living your own.

Real life is not virtual. 

The image above, drawn many many years ago by Michael Leunig is typical of his cartoons. Some links to his work can be found here.

Cartoon by Leunig.
Image source.

No comments:

Post a Comment