Humanizing Technology

“Do all the conquests attained until now and those projected for the future for technology accord with man’s moral and spiritual progress? In this context is man, as man, developing and progressing or is he regressing and being degraded in his humanity?”

—St. John Paul the Great, Redemptor Hominis, paragraph 15

Humanizing Technology  

Education develops what is most human in students: the capacity for wisdom and love which requires insightful reading, depth of thought, and the autonomy that comes from virtuous self-command. These, in turn, require disciplined habits of patience, attentiveness, memory and concentration and a desire for what is truly good and beautiful.

The role of computers and information technologies should be critically assessed in light of these goals, and prudence should govern their use in instruction and the completion of assignments. These technologies are both a fact of contemporary life and a wonderful resource, providing access to sources of knowledge otherwise unavailable. They should be utilized when appropriate and students should be taught to use them responsibly.

However, premature or excessive use of these technologies undermines the very qualities and skills education seeks to cultivate: it inhibits the development of reading comprehension, alters the very processes of composition and calculation, and creates dependence on the technologies themselves. It also hampers the transmission of tradition by isolating students from previous generations and instilling the prejudice that new equals better. Furthermore, it isolates students from one another.

Real education therefore requires a space where children can experience a measure of freedom from these technologies and develop independently of them. Our pedagogy should help create this space by stressing personal interaction in instruction and manual labor‘ (e.g. handwriting) in the completion of assignments. We should encourage students to take time, attend patiently to detail, and correct mistakes. We should prioritize the insightful reading of books over the collection and manipulation of data and should use instructional videos and other media sparingly after evaluating their quality and their effect on school culture. Lastly, we should promote communal activity over computer games or movies during leisure time.

The truly liberating answer to the problem of children’s immersion in technology is not just a more responsible use of technology; it is to give them something better to love.

Source:  Humanizing Technology – Technology in Schools (