In my high school psychology class the other day, I posed the question, “What is normal.” As students began to think about this question, I could tell we were in for a great class discussion. Then one student asked, “Can I ask ChaCha?” “Sure,” I replied, “why not?” Text your question to ChaCha (242242) and answers are just seconds away. But what happened next surprised me. The thinking stopped. Students stopped thinking about the questions and waited for “the answer” from ChaCha.
I’m so glad this happened. Not the “stopped thinking” part but the fact that my students could witness the one of the pitfalls of technology first-hand. I like technology a lot. However, users of technology, especially young users, need to be aware of how it impacts their learning and their thinking. Sure ChaCha, Google, Twitter and other tech tools are incredibly valuable. However, they can’t replace thinking. Parents, teachers, and the providers of technology need to emphasize that these tools are meant to aid thinking–not replace it. We must put the tools of technology into perspective.
Not surprisingly, the info that ChaCha supplied wasn’t very helpful. Here’s one answer to our question of what is normal: “not abnormal.” Thanks. I like services like ChaCha but what I like even more is when students understand how they can use tech tools most effectively. We can’t let technology get in the way of good thinking.