For me, recently, a week started with a suicide.
Had I turned just a little further when getting out of my car… had I looked all the way across the shared car park to where there are some storage units for the surrounding apartment blocks…had I noticed the door was open when perhaps it shouldn’t have been… I may have seen the poor soul and been the one to report the incident. As it happened, I did none of these things but instead walked as I normally do, laden with my usual gear straight over to the entrance to our building on the other side of the car park.
When I heard about it, I was shocked. Then I felt the pang of guilt that one of my colleagues had been the one to find him. Then I felt a sudden urge to want to disappear and reappear at home with my wife and newborn. Then, as the minutes passed and reality seeped back into my little office, being careful not to intrude too quickly, I started to think about what I needed to do next, so I wasn’t dragged into my own mind too deeply.
When I did return home that night – possibly driving with more purpose than I normally do – the look on my son’s face banished much of my sadness. The dawn brought death but the dusk brought new life.
It may seem trite to try and link this to technology and education but sometimes we have to deal with thoughts that are bigger than 140 characters.
What is the role of technology in those times in between despair and ecstasy? Between the heightened moments of public exhibition of a school event and the deeply private moments more of us now share with anonymous responsive websites? Much is said about the power of technology to help the extreme ends but rarely do we talk about the way technology is having an influence on our minutes and hours of ‘normal’.
I’d argue that this is actually the most important time and space on which we could focus: the in between.
In between is all the grunt work. It’s the place where we put in the effort. It’s where progress is made, whether in the form of learnings or stumbles.
Is technology helping the in between or hindering it? If we are so connected, why do some of us still feel so disconnected? If we are so easily able to establish and share more of ourselves, why do many of us feel a lack of identity?
What do we need to do within our schools and within society to make sure that technology is helping not just to make life faster and easier for us as individuals, but to make life better for all of us?
by Matt Esterman
This post deals, very clumsily, with an experience of death I have had recently. If this post raises issues for you that you feel you need support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
image courtesy of Brian on Flickr Steps and shadows Steps and shadows https://www.flickr.com/photos/lincolnian/2266798033