Untethered, But Totally Shackled

I got a chance to play with Google Glass today, and wow — how cool is that?!? If you haven’t seen or played with Glass yet, find someone who has one and try it out. Now. Do not pass go, do not collect….well, you know the drill.

Glass frees us. It — along with ┬ásmart phones, tablets, phablets, and other mobile devices — enables us to live our lives completely untethered. On my way to EDUCAUSE this year I responded to emails from 30,000 feet in the air, and engaged with other conference goers via Twitter on the van ride to the hotel. These devices create opportunity — any location can be a classroom, every learner can create and engage his or her own personal learning network (PLN), anytime, anywhere.

But these devices also enslave us. I used to read on airplanes — real books, on paper. Or maybe I’d watch a movie. Now, I work. We used to talk to each other in person, or on the (landline) phone. Now people at the same dinner table communicate with each other via Facebook, Twitter, or text. My phone is the first thing I check in the morning, and the last thing I look at before I go to sleep at night. I sleep with it only a few feet away. And every time it buzzes or bings, I get a slight adrenaline rush. I feel compelled to check it, immediately.

I am not nostalgic for the “good old days.” I believe in the power that technology holds to transform our lives. But I do wonder, is being untethered *and* unshackled mutually exclusive, or is there another way?

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1 Response to “Untethered, But Totally Shackled”


  1. 1 David October 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Interesting post! Had an analogous experience yesterday. The President’s admin assistant asked for help getting a supposedly free ebook for the boss. Getting this volume in a readable format presented an awful lot of twists and turns that smelled like bait and switch. In the end we brought up the college library’s catalog and it turned out that a print edition was shelved and ready to borrow.

    I’m frequently fascinated/flummoxed by the promise/curse of tech in education. Still waiting to see how it turns out.


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