Most of us had a brief discussion on technology these past few weeks, one that will become a continuous conversation throughout the term. We have agreed that there are major positives and negatives to living a life reliant on technology and the Internet. To examine this further we will be asking the following question; Does technology ultimately erode empathy both personally and within society? Technology is a big word, and an even bigger concept, with many facets. It has an impact on each aspect of our lives and it would be silly for us to believe it hasn’t changed how we interact with each other, and how we interact with ourselves as well. I find that technology is often a “double edged sword” as in, it is equal parts terrible and awesome at the same time. I can look up reviews to a restaurant, and directions there about 10 seconds before I go, but when I get there conversation is tense because people spend half their time text messaging, taking pictures of their dinner, or making me pose for group selfies where I generally look terrible. In this way, technology is both amazing, and damaging to our interactions.
This week you have several short video clips to watch, in preparation for our discussion, as well as follow up short answer questions, an article to read and print, and vocabulary to get the definitions. The questions apply to each clip and should be completed by the beginning of class this week. You will be asked to use your answers to these questions in partner work, and in our group discussion.
Watch the clips once or twice to get the feeling of them- once to just watch only, and again to pay special attention to the content. The questions below the clips should be answered in 3-5 sentences each, don’t go overboard, just answer the question so you can contribute to our discussion. Read and print the article from the New York Times posted below, called “The Flight From Conversation.” Lastly, look up the definitions to your vocabulary words which we will be practicing for the next few weeks before the quiz.
First watch this:
- Have you ever been in a situation where you forgot or lose your phone? How did it feel?
- What is the tone or feeling of this video? What do you think about this?
Then watch this:
- This clip appears to be silly at first, a comedian on a late night show, joking with another comedian. But there is more going on here than meets the eye. What is Louis C.K’s point?
- Do you believe people are obsessed with technology because they are really afraid to confront themselves?
Read this and print this article:
Finally, the moment you all have been waiting for…new weekly vocabulary!! I am well aware that you may know some of these words. Congratulations to you on that. However, the exercise here is not only to know the definition of the words, but to be comfortable using them in an academic context, and to better illustrate the kind of writing you are capable of doing. For that reason, please find the part of speech, and definition for each word and come into class prepared to write example sentence for each word to begin practicing using them in our writing.
Here are your journal prompts, please begin these this coming week and continue on, writing one prompt a week. Remember guys that these are for you as much as they are for me to gauge your writing skills informally and formally. Write freely, and openly about you, journaling is a chance to have a real conversation with yourself on the page. Not an actual conversation, because that would make you appear to be insane, and talking to yourself should be generally avoided in public places. Remember, I will tell you the week before I expect you to hand these in, but for now just begin them. I don’t mind the form they are in, you can even type and e-mail me the entries, but just make sure you are getting the most out of this for you, and for the course as well.
- What is the best advice an older relative has ever given you? Maybe a grandparent, or an older aunt and uncle, or even your parents. How do you try and translate this advice into the actions of your everyday life? Do you believe everyone should try and follow this advice?
- Ayn Rand was a famous American writer who fled the former Soviet Union in the 1950’s, and who often critiqued society and oppressive governments in her writing. In a famous quotation she states, “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.” Sounds redundant right?
- How do you see yourself in 10 years? Indulge for a moment in your dream life.
- Anger, and revenge are intense emotions that often stay in our memory. Describe a time when you felt vengeful. What happened, and what was the consequence? Use as much descriptive language as possible here, and sensory details of the moment. What did you hear/touch/taste/smell/feel?
- What would you do if all the electricity in the world just STOPPED. Write a brief scene about what the world would look like, or describe what you believe to be the consequences.
- If you could go back in time anywhere and any “when” where would you go, and why
- Who is one person you would love to meet, living or dead? What person, and what would you ask them?
- What would you do if you could travel into the past? If anything, what would you change, see, witness, or just plain old absorb?
- “We must be the change that we wish to see in the world.” –Mahatma Ghandi. What does this quote mean to you? In what ways are you the change you wish to see in the world? If not, how can you change and would you want to?
- What is something you desperately wanted when you were younger? Maybe it was a toy or game, or maybe it was something deeper and more intense…what was it, and did you ever receive it?