Blogfest – how does technology change the way we think?

So, this weekend was Blogfest no 3, and again I was going along to provide a techie voice. This time it was a single roundtable session, rather than the clinic, and while I have loved the clinics (the challenge of helping someone right there on the spot for just 10 minutes really fires me up actually!) it was great to be able to go to more of the sessions.

The day kicked off with an introduction from Justine, and then the panel on Technology – how does it change the way we think.


Rather than taking notes, I tweeted, fully intending to use them to build my posts afterwards 🙂

It has to be said that I was at a bit of a loss with this panel. They come from a very different place to me – I don’t read the papers, or watch TV for my news stories – I read twitter, follow links, get commentary there and then. And I’m very aware of how each paper has its own agenda. I do get very annoyed with the term digital natives, and people who go on about our children being so much more savvy than we are.

Several times people made the point that our children won’t ever know a world without the instant connection, the internet, the always on of social media. (Unless everything goes very horribly wrong of course…) This doesn’t mean that they are necessarily more aware of it or how to use it than we are though. I frequently comment about the time my nephew came to visit, and couldn’t find the internet on our desktop, purely because we used a different browser to the one he used at the school. It then turned out he didn’t know what a browser was. (What *do* they teach them in schools these days?)

So no, he’s not really a digital native is he?

Certainly most of the panel members weren’t. One of them said something about social media not being real. My response?

I did then get a teensy bit distracted by some of the technology on offer. Ooh, recursion.

First swearword of the panel from 10.01 was @fleetstreetfox I think? And no, I’m not going to share it 😉

Then there was the standard – social media gives us all an equal voice. Um, no. We might all be able to say things, but not everyone is heard, and even those who are heard aren’t always listened to.

And then the topic changed to keeping our children safe online. And I’m not quite sure who it was was promoting locking down the internet/ social media so that children can’t get online, but I don’t think much of that idea.

Cue a quick rant.

Good point from Chris Mosler about digital footprints.

And Ellen.

And my top tip for keeping your children safe online?

I wasn’t very impressed with the panel members recommending cybertracking apps, and leaning over their children’s shoulders at all times. That doesn’t seem to me to be very respectful of their children’s privacy or autonomy.

Really worth pointing out to children though, the point made by an audience member with a speciality in forensic IT (I think – does anyone know what it was?) there isn’t really a delete option on the internet. Once it’s published, there’s a record somewhere. So actually, not just the children, think twice yourself too.

Edited to add tweet from the audience member

And then the panel finished before I lost my rag over the quick advert for coding in schools as introduced by Michael Gove. (Scream.)

All in all, it was an excellent discussion to kick off the day, but I would have liked to see someone a bit less traditional media and a bit more digital up there to give the other side of the story. It was a teeny bit like people discussing a country they’ve only visited on holiday and don’t quite approve of.

Oh, and if you can’t build real connections online, I’d like to know where these four children came from 😉 (Tim and I met on an email list in the days before social networks 😉 )

So it turns out that I can only fit one panel into a post. More to follow during the week, including Think Bombs, Making money from your blog, and of course, Techie tips and tricks.

About Jax Blunt

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  1. Brilliant brilliant post. You always write such measured comprehensive posts after the conference. Admirable. I included one of your tweets in mine. The person in the audience who made that sterling point was Lou, and she full-time teaches Technology to the full age spectrum of teens. She knows her stuff. Check her out she is @Lou_nate
    Liska xx

  2. Really enjoyed this post, it’s interesting. I think that you need to help nurture children online. There is a wealth of knowledge out there. I’ve met so many people through being online, ones I call friends and you are included. x

  3. Very interesting, sounds like a good debate

  4. As I was reading the tweets I got a strong impression of what was being said and found myself nodding along or rolling my eyes. In fact it was the session I think I heard most about via twitter. I have never felt comfortable with the idea of tracking apps; I think back to my teenage years, when MSN and chatrooms were what it was all about, the relationship I had with my mum was such that when she asked I was open and honest with her, she trusted what I told her to be the truth. And I was wondering just last week about our children and how they won’t know life before the Internet, what we need to do to ensure they understand their own digital footprints.

    Great post (coming from one who wasn’t there!).

  5. I find this topic absolutely fascinating, and you are of course bang on the money. The answer isn’t tracking apps it’s truly knowing your kids. Sounds a bit odd though, having the panelists they had? Great post!

  6. Fab post and great discussion, I can’t help agreeing with you on so many levels. I’d have had a good rant to add if I’d been there too, not least these parents who think they can police all by following their child on social media, surely the child will just set up another account their parents are unaware of if they want to shake free?

    • I think the things that children learn from their parents’ behaviour aren’t always what the parents are wanting to teach, and leaning over your child’s shoulder whether literally or virtually doesn’t engender trust.

  7. I think it was sad that so much of it seemed to focus on the negative again – rather that how technology is changing us in a positive way
    Pinkoddy recently posted…Christmas Crafts with Toilet Roll Holders (TRH)My Profile

    • A very good point. A lot of people seem very scared of technology, and yet it has such power for the positive too, not least within education.


  1. […] no longer a clear one. With smart phones and 3G/4G it’s become a continuum. There’s a very good blog about the session here so I’m not going to go into any more detail about what the panel about just some thoughts […]

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