Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let's have an intelligent and respectful discussion about technology

Last Thursday I attended a conference on education.  The conference featured two keynote speakers.  The first speaker, Eboo Patel, spoke eloquently about the importance of having intelligent and respectful discussions about religion.  He also spoke passionately about the importance of finding common ground and building bridges between people of different faiths.  That is in fact the work he is doing with his Interface Youth Council.  He also stressed the importance of having intelligent, respectful discussions with students about religion and teaching them religious literacy.  As Mr. Patel said, "if we don't who will".

I believe that all of those points are true.  I also believe that tolerance, education, and respect are also important when addressing issues of media, culture, and technology.  Unfortunately, the second keynote speaker at the conference, James P. Steyer, of Common Sense Media approached technology, media and culture like Professor Harold Hill of the music man, speaking of "trouble in river city".   

We digital, media, and cultural immigrants must approach these topics with dignity, respect, and intelligence.  Media Literacy is extremely important.  Returning from the conference I advised my teachers to seek out wonderful sources such as NMLP and these excellent sources from the University of Connecticut.