I think today in Greece the winning team is Digital Immigrants. But this is a game we know we gonna lose. Sooner or later, Digital Natives, will conquer the world. Digital Natives are the people born in the era of Hybrid Society and in the context of computer mediated communication and information super highways. For digital natives virtual social interactions are taken for granted and computer’s mediation is inevitable.
I have to confess that I used a personal PC for the first time in my life at the age of 18. My whole school years were pure with no computers and cell phones. I first met the guy named Internet at the age of 21 but at that time I couldn’t even imagine its evolution and its multiplexion with our lives. I consider myself as immigrand in the cyberspace. And I wander what are the differences between my generation and digital natives generation. What are the differences in the learning processes, in the formation of cognitive procedures, in cognitive development, in socialization, in mental health? And at the end what is the overall impact on quality of life and on human spirit? to cyber or not to cyber… That is the question…
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is a wonderful book. Full of emotions advanced ideas and valuable simplicity. This book cannot easily be categorized. Is not a simple novel, is not a scientific book. Actually it is letter, full of valuable and emotional material, to his children. The book was issued in April 2008 just three months before his death. Randy Pausch passed away in July 25th, 2008 due to pancreatic cancer.
In his book Randy Pausch is writing about fulfilling dreams, his own dreams and others’ dreams. But this is just a “head-fake”. Actually is a letter to his children about what he wanted to tell them but they were to young to understand. However this emotional father’s letter to his children is valuable for every children and every adult. It is a passage full of simple and useful advises for everybody’s life. But surely his children will read it in very special way.
The Last Lecture was very helpful to me and make me think about matters of existence, life value, dignity, compassion, humility, intelligence and time management. As a computer scientist I also enjoyed the section about Alice project (www.alice.org) which I think is an important educational environment for teaching programming. It is more suitable for modern students in comparison with Logo language. It is object-oriented and 3-d environment. Very creative software.
I feel grateful to Randy Pausch for his contribution to our life and I am sure his three children and wife will adore him also through the memories and guides he left behind for them.
Randy Pausch was offering a course named “Building virtual worlds” at Carnegie Mellon University and was a head member of ETC (Entertainment Technology Park) at the same university.
McLuhan divides history in 4 discrete seasons: oral tribe culture, manuscript culture, Gutenberg galaxy and electronic era. Every stage is distinguished by a new invention with enormous social impact: literacy, typography and information society. Online social networking is a technology (in a wider consideration) that may be leads to the next stage, to hybrid society era. I think hybrid society is a distinct era because social relations change dramatically by the addition of a virtual part, a virtual lived experience that is complementary and multiplexed with normal lived experience.
People today interact socially in a natural world and the same time interact socially in a computer mediated world, in the world of online social networking. Both social interactions are lived by the very same corporal human body. So they are not distinct experiences but they rather consist a unique hybrid social lived experience.
I think Hybrid Social era as a distinct nest stage of information society because of two major reasons. Hybrid social networking experience is completely new social experience with the theoritical possibility to be connected with all the world population through the friends-of-friends capability, never known before. Second by the characteristic of the powerful social construction of identity. In facebook we are known by our friends and what they say about us.
virtual reality worlds bring a totally new social environment for mankind. Human psychological characteristics developed through many years of evolution in a natural environment with no virtual stimulus. Modern hybrid society imposes new ways of social interactions. We have the body of a primitive hunter in a technology mediated social environment. In any new context some men are better adapted and some others no. Natural selection is expanded to include technological adaptation.
Virtual experience is altering human psychology in many ways. New acquaintances in facebook are reinforced by social contacts, guaranteeing the individual’s integrity. Social networking users are social defined beings. In facebook we are known by the company we carry with us. Virtual experience is affecting real world processes and vice verse. Human cognitive functions are context sensitive. New technology mediated social environment is expected to change human thinking.
Learning was always a social process and a fumdamental mean for human development. Today learning is also a social networking process. Hybrid society lead to hybrid experience and hybrid social learning.