Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Career Goal Stated Better By Someone Else

Writing at Teach Paperless, John Spencer enunciates a career goal that I have long had but could not enunciate clearly.
I want my students to be geeks and gurus.

The geek is knowledgeable about technology. This person loves it, embraces it and knows how to use it in creative ways. One the best days, the geek thinks of the future and how technology can be used to solve social, economic and perhaps even personal problems. (Think Dr. Salk or Batman.)  On the worst days, the geek becomes intoxicated by the novelty and applies futuristic solutions that lack foresight. (Think Dr. Oppenheimer in his early days or The Terminator.)

On the other hand, the guru is wise about technology. This person sees it as a force that is sometimes negative in its dehumanizing aspects. On the best days, a guru will remind us that the physical is as important as the mechanical and that some things in life should not be chopped into pieces and processed, compressed and then industrialized. A guru knows that, even when we try and predict it, technology takes on a life of its own. (Think Marshall McLuhan or Dr. Oppenheimer in his latter days.)  However, on the worst days, a guru will grow cynical and angry and shake an elitist fist at every innovation while missing out on the ways technology improves society. (Think the Unibomber.)

I want my students to be a bit of both. Call it a paradox or a mystery. I don't want them to abandon technology in a doom-and-gloom fear. However, I also don't want them to get into the mentality that a robotic world will fix everything. [emphasis mine]

1 comment:

yanktonirishred said...

Easily the smartest people I know have a healthy mix of both of these.