blog-action-day-2008

Technologically Rich but Quality of Life Poor

I have a very good job in Florida teaching masters students how to use media and technology in their classrooms and businesses. I left a very uncertain situation in public education in California where most of my co-workers are going to have to look for other teaching jobs or interview to keep the jobs they have in the next two-years. Another friend, who has been battling on-going medical issues, openly wondered whether it was worth the hassle for her to keep her house as the medical bills mount up. And yet with all of this my friends and I are by world standards very, very rich. Our difficulties are generally not about survival but about which luxury activity we’re going to have to forego because things are “a little tight.” It’s hard to balance this kind of life with issues like Poverty.

In a discussion session with a group of masters students last night, one student posed the question about whether our use of technology (some might say “addiction”) was preventing us from living a life connected to our neighbors, our environment or our heritage. He followed up with an observation that it seemed like places that are less driven by technology like some parts of Europe and the Third World move at a much slower pace and seem to actually have a better quality of life. It was an interesting insight to imagine that we are technology rich but our lives our poor in terms of meaningful connections, whereas parts of the world that we would consider poor might have richer, more meaningful existence.

I do not pose these thoughts in an effort to generate some “we should feel guilty for being so rich” kind of thing. If anything it should be obvious that there isn’t a one-for-one connection between being “rich” and the quality of one’s life. I’ve been thinking for some time that I need to contact my local chapter of something like Habitat for Humanity and get involved. In a life that’s often overly crowded with things and thoughts I need to do this for me, get my hands dirty and join others helping ourselves by helping each other. Sending a check isn’t such a bad idea, but spending some weekends in someone else’s shoes and neighborhood would be much better… for all of us. jbb

Michael Andrews & Gary Jules - Donnie Darko (Music From the Original Motion Picture Score) - Mad World Music: Mad World from the album “Donnie Darko (Music From the Original Motion Picture Score)” by Michael Andrews


This post is part of Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty

2 Comments

  1. Terry Howard

    I think it really depends on whether on not you use technology with a purpose in mind, or just use it because it’s there. Great example of technology doing good and leveraging community above and beyond what could have been without it happened just yesterday.

    Talia Castellano is a local 9 year old girl diagnosed with Neuroblastoma who is in need of donors with type O negative blood. Before the media could be contacted, before Google could index her CaringBridge page and before the local blood bank could start canvasing calls for donors, a chain reaction of twitter activity spread in moments and generated enough community awareness to send at least 6 people I know of out to their cars and on their way to give blood. This is all in a span of minutes, not even hours! That was community being turbo charged with technology in action.

    Another perfect example is the diabetes support community that Manny Hernandez (formerly a Full Sail employee) has built in TuDiabetes.com and the Diabetes Hands Foundation. He and some dedicated collaborators used the Ning platform to go from an idea to a strong global community with purpose and fundraising ability in maybe just a bit more than a year.

    Technology is a tool, and if you think of it as a means and not an end unto itself it can make us a stronger, closer community, no question.

    Like

  2. joe.bustillos

    Wonderful examples of technology meeting important needs. I most definitely agree that technology is essentially just a tool and the more important question is how we all use it. I think the student question was a bit of weariness from typical technology plans in education that are under-supported and underfunded and often leave early adopters wondering if we’d all just be better off if we returned to the fictional “simpler times.” jbb

    Like

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