In 2010, Kevin Kelly wrote a piece for the NY Times about homeschooling his children for a year and what he tried to impart about technology, specifically about “proficiency with the larger system of our invented world.”In “Achieving Techno-Literacy,” he lists some critical stances to keep in mind in using technology. I find these very useful, and I think they would be good for students in a writing class to read over (once copyright permission is secured!):
• Every new technology will bite back. The more powerful its gifts, the more powerfully it can be abused. Look for its costs.
• Technologies improve so fast you should postpone getting anything you need until the last second. Get comfortable with the fact that anything you buy is already obsolete.
• Before you can master a device, program or invention, it will be superseded; you will always be a beginner. Get good at it.
• Be suspicious of any technology that requires walls. If you can fix it, modify it or hack it yourself, that is a good sign.
• The proper response to a stupid technology is to make a better one, just as the proper response to a stupid idea is not to outlaw it but to replace it with a better idea.
• Every technology is biased by its embedded defaults: what does it assume?
• Nobody has any idea of what a new invention will really be good for. The crucial question is, what happens when everyone has one?
• The older the technology, the more likely it will continue to be useful.
• Find the minimum amount of technology that will maximize your options.