Yesterday we went to a Nesta event in London to hear Professor Howard Gardner talk about his research into the ways in which young people today differ from earlier generations because of their relationship to new technology. Gardner’s talk focused very much on ethics, and on how to do good work in a world where technology dominates personal and working lives and relationships – “work that is excellent in quality, socially responsible, and meaningful to its practitioners” – and over and over again he stated that ethics is about what we do, and the relationships we create with other human beings.
Gardner talked about the challenges of a digitial world in which relationships can happen not in a place, and how this messes up our standards of what is real and who is responsible – his examples were things like cyber-bullying, changing famous images asnd artworks with photoshop, or knowing more about music in Malawi than the concert going on in a local community center etc.
What did we learn? That in a changing world of technology, making space for people to do good work together that is about real places and building real community is more important than ever. That if we what to create great good places for learning, then we have to find ways to use technology to connect to and connect up what’s around us, and to think about the real place and the real challenges for our own neighbourhood. Gardner has said “I believe that human beings working carefully and reflectively and co-operatively over time can converge more and more closely to determin the way that things acctually are.”
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