Tag Archives: Sherry Turkle

Creativity is Key

With all of the technology available at our fingertips, it is easy to lose sight of human contact and every day communication with others.

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Technology has a way of getting people to communicate behind a screen, which can be very detrimental to the way people work together in the classroom, workplace, and out in the “real” world. Many people argue that technology is hindering the creative learning process of students, but others say that creativity is sparked by technology and creative arts that interest the students in the classroom.

There is a universal push for STEM in many schools, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math.  Nicky Morgan, the author of the article Creativity is the key to education, so why aren’t we pursuing it?, said that “the choice by pupils to study traditionally creative subjects, the humanities and arts, would in fact restrict their career choices.” STEM gives students the ability to study and focus on the “non-traditional” topics that are usually studied in school.

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“Creativity in schools isn’t just restricted to the teaching of “creative” subjects; art, English etc. In fact even that definition of what subjects are creative is a misstatement of what creativity can mean,” (Morgan). A lot of the time, students lose their sense of creativity in the classroom because of a lack of interest in the topics being studied. Tailoring lessons too fit the needs and interests of the students in the classroom is one way to get creativity stirring. Once the students find a topic that interests them, they will be more likely to complete assignments and do something out-of-the-box. They will be less likely to hold back because they feel confident and comfortable with the subject matter.

Lessons can be tailored to fit any subject area, too.  Sherry Turkle, in her article Who Am We? was showing creativity with her various nickname; she was able to change her identity and play off of them to fit what she was writing about. Like Turkle, if a teacher is presenting a history lesson to the class in a monotone way, the students will lose interest within five minutes, but when the teacher is enthusiastic about the material,  the students will be more likely to be enthusiastic as well.

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The Technological World

The technological world has changed so much within the last 20, 10, even 5 years. I do not think that people 20 years ago really understood how much of an impact the computer would have on the people today. It seems like everywhere you turn, there is someone using some form of technology, whether it be a cell phone with smart technology a laptop or an iPod.

Sherry Turkle’s article, “Who Am We?” discusses what she found out about the internet through decades of research. She states that “we are moving from a modernist culture of calculation toward a postmodernist culture of simulation.” I interpret this to mean that in a modernist culture, people work together in person to solve (calculate) issues, and in a postmodernist culture, everything is simulated and done online. Today, we are in a postmodernist culture; people resort to using the internet for daily tasks such as writing, reading and communicating.

Turkle goes  on to state that “life on screen permits us to project ourselves into our own dramas… we are using life on computer screens to become comfortable with new ways of thinking about evolution, relationships, sexuality, politics, and identity.” Technology is not only opening up new windows of how to interact with people, but it is also changing the way people think about themselves and everyday tasks.

A person’s true identity can forever be hidden with the help of the internet, which can be a very frightening and intimidating thought. People can change or hide their identity from the world by simply hiding behind a computer screen, and can even steal someone else’s identity while also using technology. Without the technology we have today, these situations would be too far-fetched to complete. An example of how we are living in this postmodernist way of life is the show on MTV, “Catfish” allows people to hide their identity and live their lives opposite of what they say they are.

Technology is allowing people to alter their identity and is used as a crutch on a daily basis. As new technology is created, I think the issue of people being attached to their technology will only get stronger.

Multiple Personalities:  Good or Bad?

When posting on social media, how many of us are actually being true to ourselves?  Do we display the ‘real’ us or are we putting on a show?  The answers to those questions should be yes and yes.  I know they are for me anyway.  As someone who uses social media, I try very hard to be true to who I feel I am and express my thoughts and beliefs.  However, after reviewing the blog article Social Media and My Multiple Personalities, I realize that I am portraying more than who I really am as a person.  The owner of the blog Finding Dutchland is Rina Mae Acosta and she shares ideas in her post similar to those in Sherry Turkle’s article Who Am We?

            Sherry talks about the many versions of Sherry that she displays including “the ‘French Sherry’, Turkle the social scientist, Dr. Turkle the clinical psychologist, Sherry Turkle the writer of books. Sherry the professor…and ST”  All of these people are Sherry Turkle, but different versions of her are displayed on social media in regard to the topic or audience she is addressing.  Rina talks about the world of blogging and how she is on various social medial sites in order to reach her audience.  She goes on to say that “all of these social media platforms have different focuses and target groups, facilitating different types of interactions and promoting certain behaviors” (Acosta 2014).  Different situations call for different discourse, as to be expected.

In Turkle’s article, she explores MUDs or Multi-User Dungeons, where players often play the roles of the opposite sex, where they behave and display characteristics that are a contrast to who they are in real life.  Turkle interviewed a 23-year-old male by the name of Stewart who used MUDs to live in a way that he doesn’t and cannot in reality.  While Stewart insisted “that he does not role play, but that MUDs simply allow him to be a better version of himself” (Turkle 1996).  I don’t know that I would agree with Stewart in this case because based on the article, he has no will or desire to ever be the character he plays in the MUD in real life.  It is not a ‘better’ version of himself, but instead a version he is afraid to be or unable to be in his life.  While Acosta’s social media use allows her to be a better blogger and attract a larger audience, Stewart is using MUDs to live a fantasy life.  Turkle states that “MUDding did not alter Stewart’s sense of himself” (Turkle 1996).

The variances between the ways we communicate on different levels of social media do several things.  As a blogger, in Acosta’s case, it allows her to reach out to many different audiences and build up her followers.  It also allows people like Stewart to explore the possibilities of who they really are and what potential they have for interactions in reality.  For writers in general, reaching out to different audiences and communicating differently over several social media platforms allows the writer to grow, and interact with writers of all genres.