Slowing Down Education, 140 Characters at a Time

Presented at the #140edu conference in New York City, August 2nd and 3rd, 2011

Immersed in a constant stream of information, losing our ability to meaningfully read anything longer than a page, and connected through a social network that in users represents the 3rd largest country in the world, how can we promote thoughtful and sustained education 140 characters at a time? If our tools are also those which our accelerating our lives, how can we subvert them to slow us down? If our students are encouraged to write, only bits at a time, how can we engage them in sustained thinking and writing?

I would like to promote slowness as a value for educators to promote through technology. Is slowness a useful concept for educators working with technology to consider? Have we lost our ability to slow down in learning? Furthermore, do educators and designers of technologies feel a responsibility to comment on and demonstrate alternative technologies that may promote slowness and considered thought?

As an educator, artists, and technologist, my talk will present the current landscape of fast thinking and multi-tasking and proposes a manifesto for slowness via which I believe we can return to the essence of education – to give our students the skills to become lifelong learners, and to sustain interest and inquiry into a variety of fields.

The audience at #140edu is the perfect one with which to engage in this dialogue. The fact that we are participating in such an event means we are interested in education and in technology. I also believe that most participants in educational technology conferences believe that technology can bring positive change to education. I would like to disrupt this thinking a bit, by highlighting the downsides, while returning to the positive via a new framework, slowness.

2011: #140edu: Slowing Down Education | 2011 | Talks