“Give up texting for Lent”

recent BBC News item reported that, the archbishop of the Italian city of Modena wants young Catholics to give up text messaging, social networking websites and computer games for Lent. Monsignor Benito Cocchi is reported to have said that foregoing the activity would help young people “cleanse themselves from the virtual world and get back in touch with themselves”. Other Italian bishops are reported to have given their backing to the appeal. If one discounts the religious context within which the above remarks were made, one cannot ignore the profound implications for learning with technology amongst student with some religious persuasion.

  • Is there such a thing as technological addiction e.g. iphone-itous? (apologies Matt Wheeler)
  • To what extent do individual or collective beliefs, be they religious or secular, shape use or non-use of technological tools either for socialising and/or for learning?

Recently, a participant in a project I was involved with insisted that learning without technology is much better because it frees the mind to focus on the learning. For this individual, technologically mediated learning is “disruptive” to her learning lifestyle. Sadly, she may not be alone in holding such view; the notion that technology is disruptive to daily lives has been the subject of much academic writing.  (See for example Conole et al., (2008) on “disruptive technologies” in Computers and Education vol 50/2).

The call for “virtual cleansing” from mobile technological use raises a challenge for shaping the attitudes and beliefs of members of our society who may still trapped in the Dickensian age.

The role of “Learning Technology Evangelist” as coined by our Media Zoo Keeper remains a realistic option for changing such attitudes.

Sahm Nikoi (18 March 2008).

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