This week, my partner and I will be discussing the second part of Turkle's book. Several of the themes discussed in the latter portion of the book seemed to be more applicable to my life. She discusses many topics, but the overuse of technology and social media within work and educational environments was mist interesting to me. These two areas are most relatable for me, and I understood her examples most clearly.
One major problem she addresses is the fact that so many people have become less likely to participate in one-on-one, face-to-face interactions (e.g. meetings, group work). They would prefer to interact via email, text or social media. She explains how losing these human connections are not only a problem for students and workers themselves, but also for the employers. Employers are now charged with the task of gaining the attention of their employees and encouraging more personal interactions in the workplace.
One of the main problems she addresses in the educational environment is students who text during class. She states some statistics that prove that students are prone to checking their phone throughout discussions and lectures, and many of these students admit to doing so. One interesting examples she uses is how one of her smaller, much more intimate classes she teaches allows for personal stories to be shared. She discourages any use of technology during this time, but she has noticed that students have broken her rule. She explains that she doesn't even have to patrol the classroom during this time, because students would come to her office hours to confess that they had been checking their phone while someone was speaking about his or her personal experiences. Even the students understand and feel as though it devalues class time.
Personally, I can relate to the whole "texting in class" epidemic. I am also a student who feels as though technology is begging for me to give it some attention throughout my entire day. Even during my most personal time, I feel obligated to open and respond to a text message.
Turkle talks a lot about how multitasking is overtaking our lives. She offers several steps to help reciprocate the problem. Unitasking was my favorite tool she mentions. She says we should focus on one thing and devote enough time to just that thing. Even if it means shutting our phones off, it accomplishes the goal at hand. She also says to "take our time." She cites examples of how her research shows that students tend to look for the answer, rather than an explanation or the process behind finding that answer. They are "always on," connected and engaged. We are always rushed, and something "else" is always begging for our attention. Where does this leave teachers? How are they supposed to compete with technology?
Turkle, Sherry. (2015). Reclaiming conversation: The power of talk in a digital age. New York, New York: Penguin Press.