Monday, November 15, 2010

Future and Technology: Losing our minds...

Being in Japan, I can only speak in reference to the students I teach, but I have noticed major problems with young childrens` ability to create and imagine. This may be an issue that is local to Japan, but my suspicions are that this is a worldwide phenomenon. The Japanese culture has problems with not wanting to make mistakes in front of others, but in the environment of my classroom this is not really a problem.

The truth is that more and more children are becoming dependent on machines and devices to provide stimulation they need for enjoyement and study. I see it in my own home. Is TV, internet, smartphone society really starting to rot our brains, or more importantly our children`s? That is an important question to contemplate.

With the internet culture growing more rapidly every year, we are seeing the beginning of a worldwide change in the way we imagine and create. Curiosity is soon satisfied with browsing the web and our quests for information are as easy as typing a word on GOOGLE.

In my classes, I ask students to imagine and draw simple objects in order to check their listening skills. They need to hear the English word and draw a picture of it. The problem is that about 90% of the kids cannot draw without an example. They tell me that they understand but cannot think of how to draw it.

Another example I experience in my classroom is when I ask students, " What do you want to be?" They understand the question, but cannot seem to be able to dream up an honest response.

Imagination gives birth to dreams, and dreamers are the inventors and revolutionary thinkers of society. Look at the annals of history and you will see dreamers and inventors who changed society and achieved greatness and profited many by their efforts.

My fear is that if we adults are not careful, we may see our future generations lose their minds unable to think of a way out, and not even curious enough to care. That would be a dark future indeed.
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