Friday, July 25, 2014

Get lost....

"With every additional technology that assists in exploring the physical world around us, we are losing our sense of direction and ability to navigate without them."

A good piece by Curtis Silver on mapping and how digital tools and apps might be leading us to lose some of our instinctive navigational skills, particularly for younger generations who perhaps never grew up handling paper maps in the same way as older generations.
It's an interesting geographical / spatial take on the idea of digital natives / immigrants.
It quotes John Kennedy who says that learning to read a map to follow a journey is important in developing a range of elements which are also important to the development of our brains and the way they work:
  • Shape recognition: critical to forming thoughts
  • Direction and orientation: relate to our ability to orient ourselves and the intrinsic ability to know when we are moving away or toward something, (some feel this is critical to moral decision making as well).
  • Analysis and Synthesis: analysis of environmental factors, distance, timing, safety and synthesis, which is pulling these together for seeking a relevant or most appropriate/safe path.
  • Working memory: as we learn to navigate our environment and pull in all the other factors (mental connections) our memory builds until we can find our way automatically (it becomes a zombie system) allowing us the ability to enjoy the environment instead of looking at a screen.
There are some interesting ideas relating to how students would cope if they found themselves somewhere quite close to where they lived, but then had to find their way home. Would they know which way to go ? What are the dangers of relying on technology ?
Gave me some ideas for how this might fit into a landscape unit.
Well worth reading...

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