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Showing posts from February, 2012

There is No Such Thing as Technology

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The opening of Chaplin's Modern Times
(thanks to WikiCommons)
To be happily confused and conflated with a couple of specific posts on the iPad about two years ago, here and here.Educational institutions spend a lot of time talking about technology. Often they're reactive conversations, states of semi-panic as people in these organisations observe trends in wider society and wonder whether they're being left behind.There are probably two main ways these conversations tend to pan out. Or maybe 3. 1. The gee whiz conversation. Sometimes called technological determinism, technology as the Great White Hope. It seems to be popular and working somewhere else, so let's have it here and that will be our experience as well. Technology as value-neutral and free-floating, reproducible in any situation.2. The critical, evaluative conversation. "Technology is just a tool, it's what we do with it that is important." Technology is still a fairly neutral player, able to be …

The Mixed Bag of Mindfulness

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I do and I don't love mindfulness. Mindfulness means what the word says, being mindful of what goes on. Being aware. People who practice mindfulness quickly realise how unaware they were of what was happening around them before they started noticing things. Mindfulness is often held to be pretty much synonymous with meditation. People who have never tried meditation often think it carries with it all sorts of lunatic associations about hippies and New Age and navel gazing. There are plenty of fruit loops who do practice meditation, but then there are plenty of fruit loops doing anything you can think of, so it's not a disqualifying thing.
Mindfulness and meditation are really only about paying attention. Learning to pay attention to things. This simple activity, although many find it incredibly difficult, changes lives. It changes not just how your body and mind function, in every way, but how you experience the world. It's now used in psychology and medicine to treat or e…