Alone vs. Lonely

I recently posted the following as a reflection for my current masters class though UBC MET program on Designing Technology Supported Learning Environments. My reflection was based largely on this video by Dr. Turkle

The following is my reflection:
The idea that most resonated for me this week was Dr. Turkle’s talk about being alone together. I am personally keenly aware of how the draw of constant connectivity affects my relationships with my friends, family, and students. Turkle’s idea that we seek relationships that we can keep at arm’s length or access as we need them and not as others need them is important. “Connectivity without the demands of friendship”. For students, I think schools require that they make connections to find audience and to learn from one another but we must keep in mind that children are also learning how to be functioning adults in society and are learning how to make relationships. I thought it was particularly poignant that Turkle pointed out that people lose that ability to be alone and, as such, become lonely.
I recently read Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods. His ideas about the detrimental effects of losing connection with one another and with nature are interesting and I’m currently trying to wrap my mind around how I can integrate the two seemingly disparate ideas of technology in education and constant connectivity with the slow, authentic observation opportunities provided by being outside. It’s more than app smashing by taking a quick photograph, marking it up in another app, and loading it to one’s blog to be commented on by other viewers. While I truly think there is value in that, I also think there is value in sitting outside with a sketchbook and visual journaling a leaf for ten minutes while absorbing the atmosphere.
I’m not sure how to marry the two ideas that seem to be drawing my attention in two completely different directions, but it’s something I would love to explore further.
Would love to hear your thoughts.

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