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On Thu, 26 Jun 1997, Richard Damashek replied to my message expressing
concerns about the effect of technology on the human socialization
process. He wrote:

> Talk about modeling for a minute. Last night I succeeded in training my
> students to create home pages from scratch, ie without a web editor,
> just by using Notepad in Windows 3.1. They downloaded images from the
> Internet and created a whole bunch of really cute home pages.
>
> I spent the whole day teaching myself so I could teach them. I was so excited
> because the first time I tried to teach this group, we failed miserably and I
> was embarrassed. This time, there were enough smiles all around to light up
> the room.
>
> As for the computer cutting off communication, consider this: would we have
> ever met had it not been for the computer? I've made many new friends on this
> listserve and keep in touch with old ones and family all over the world by
> email.
>
>

I stand (well, actually, I sit in front of the computer) corrected.  I
think the computer CAN enhance human socialization by allowing us to
"meet" folks from around the world, but computer socialization cannot
replace the "human" touch.  It is entirely possible to "be" someone quite
different from who you really are when communicating by computer--as
witness the scummy folks who use the computer to seduce children!  If
these children are not socialized to human society and taught critical
thinking skills, they won't be able to defend themselves!  On the other
hand, if one communicates ONLY by computer, will we then have achieved a
truly crime-free world?  Just a little food for thought!

I agree with David Caverley that the computer is a wonderful tool, as long
as it is not relied on as the sole tutor/teacher.  I am much more creative
talking to my computer than with my old yellow legal pad.  The computer
opens up enormous vistas of endless possibilities.  That's what all
people, not just students, need to be aware of.  But with that knowledge
and access comes an increased responsibility--to be aware, to think
critically, to act with more consideration, because the folks on the
receiving end cannot see your facial expressions, hear your tone of voice,
etc.

It's warm (well, actually hot!) here in New Mexico, with the
threat/promise of thunderstorms later today.  I hope they occur after I
get home because my poor dog, who HATES thunderstorms, will spend the
night sleeping on my head if I'm not there to protect him from the wrath
of the big dogs in the sky!

Peggy Keller
Lead Learning Assistant for English
Assistance Centers for Education
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute
525 Buena Vista SE
Albuquerque, NM  87106

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