#EdcMooc Being human…being fragile.

FragileEarth (2)

Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister of Russia and former ambassador to Nato, called for an international initiative to create a warning system for “objects of an alien origin” today when more than 500 people were injured by a meteorite shower.  The impact, in the Russian town of  Chelyabinst furthermore caused windows to break, damaged buildings and caused panic as mobile networks overloaded. And these were just little chunks of debris, the “big one” narrowly flew by our planet.

How fragile we are one might say.

One moment we are the superhuman, post human or trans human species of the 21th century, the other moment we were close to get back to the Pleistocene so to speak.

But despite his understandable reaction Rogozin should probably fear the threats for our planet more coming from within the planet and not from outer space. With one look at the Worldometer I see the score of CO2 emissions this year only is already 4,199,740,326 tons and there are 1,225,582 tons of chemicals released in the environment. Oh, and…I know we do not like to think about it too much but some 25- thousand people died of hunger today  while nearly one billion  (= 1.000000000 !) are undernourished.

How thoughtless we are one might say.

There are around 2-and-a half billion  internet users in the world and counting while I write this. Today 250- billion  emails were sent, more than 2- million  blogs were written ( including this one 🙂  and  around 180- million  tweets were composed.

In the meantime we worry about the influence of computers on education, that is, some people do, like Lowell Monke in his essay on “The human touch”. Basically he is worried the face-to face upbringing/teaching is neglected in favour of the computer. Children spent too much time behind screens and lose their creativity and real understanding of matters.

I do agree the human touch now a days is missing somewhat but in another way Monke uses it. I’ll try explain: it reminds me of a story my grandmother once told me. She witnessed the first cars in our country. She told me a person with a flag would walk in front of it to warn people.

Of course we should not just have computers in education because there are computers. We should integrate them in our education and think about why, when and how to use them. We should show our children and students how to use them and, like in the day to day upbringing warn them about possible dangers just like we tell them about what food to eat, why it is good to join a sports cub, why you should be kind to other people and why it would be more reasonable or should I say  righteous to share the planets resources instead of keeping them for just a group of people: In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifth just 1.5%.  The poorest 10% accounted for just 0.5% and the wealthiest 10% accounted for 59% of all the consumption.( http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats#src7 ) Oh and by the way, worldwide there are more than a 100-miljon children out of education!

Computers are just one facet of live which can make live a lot easier or more pleasant, just like a car.  And there are big cars, fast cars, beautiful cars, old-timers and really wrecked up cars. You can just drive them to get to work only or take day trips. But they basically have one purpose: to get you from A to B. Much like a computer lets you do tasks to get somewhere. Of course you can get  run over by a car and of course you can use a computer to harass other people, steal information or spread bad posts.

Trying to abolish this is all part of teaching people to be wise which includes being digital wise and cultivating compassion for ones fellow creatures.                                                  That’s why we call ourselves “humans” and consider ourselves as being better then lower forms of living.                                                                                                                                   As we move into the 21th century we should not disregard this.                                                                                                          In my opinion then we would not be fit to be labelled  “human”.


Over ilonkahebels

I teach communication skills and journalism at a University of applied sciences in the northern part of The Netherlands. I am doing research in the field of collaborative learning in web-based environments and am interested in technology in education; how can we apply it trying to enhance learning? This is part of my Master study Educational Theory I hope to finish by fall 2013.
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