Session 2 – Developing critical theoretical frames

This weeks session was delivered by David Leat, Professor of Curriculum Innovation and Director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CFLAT) and a Deputy Director of SOLE Central.imaging

If that fails to impress then the fact that David has also run over 50 half marathons definitely should do!

You can find David’s Session 2 powerpoint here as well as the article titled tel@work toward integration of theory and practice.

David’s big question for you this week is:

Is there any danger of us losing any of our human qualities through deep engagement with digital technology (including social media)?



23 Comments Add yours

  1. uncrushedscot says:

    Hi David – interesting class.
    Re your question – by human qualities I assume you mean – empathy, communication, problem solving, collaboration etc.

    There is anecdotal evidence that an individuals deep immersion in cyber space might limit their capabilities to be nuanced and effective in ftf personal communication. However, peer learning capabilities may be enhanced. The development of digital platforms and applications has the potential to extend the capacity of individuals to find data, analyse it and collaborate widely and respond quickly to construct novel solutions.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Good point Tom – while we may loose some qualities we may gain some new ones – is this not the natural process of development?


  2. uncrushedscot says:

    Re my last post – People with digital skills can be unconsciously incompetent. In the ‘real world ‘ most people still rely on direct ftf/ verbal communication skills to build trust, persuade, motivate and make decisions.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ursubaba says:

    There is no danger of losing human qualities as a result of deep engagement with digital technology, especially social media (David, 2015). The human beings are the dangers not the digital media. The human beings are more dangerous than the digital technology. The human beings are the so called: hackers, yahoo boys (Nigerian parlance), scam artists, online bullies and so on. In this context, there are two (2) questions that needs to be clarified too:
    1. Is it the digital technology that had turned itself into a dangerous medium? or
    2. Is it the human beings that had turned digital technology into a dangerous medium?
    The answer to question one (1) is that, it is not digital technology that turned itself into a dangerous medium, and to answer question two (2) the human beings are the agents that are corrupting the digital technology into a dangerous medium through misuse. If the analogue technological era metamorphosed without “Totally” causing dangers to human qualities and deep engagement, then digital technology era should not pose any threat to human beings. This is also evident in the history that preceded the emergence of digital technology. Before digital technology, lots of analogue technologies existed examples which are:
    1. analogue radio;
    2. analogue television;
    3. analogue clocks;
    4. analogue thermometer;
    5. analogue car driving system and so on, Google (2015).
    On the one hand, if analogue radio was adoptable as a medium for distance learning (audio medium) in education, then digital radio will even be more adoptable for more functions to instruction. If analogue television was also adoptable as a medium for instruction (audio visual), then digital television will even be more versatile to teaching and learning processes. If analogue clock helped in laboratory practical’s in schools for timing, then digital clock will be more efficient. If analogue thermometer did not constitute mayhem to health practices by providing a means for measuring human temperature, then digital thermometer should be more accurate. If analogue car driving system did work as a means of transportation, then digital car driving system will be more outstanding (Carjamtv, 2015).
    On the other hand, digital technologies have their own little flaws because they are human made. For example, without a pre-programmed instruction using prescribed algorithm the digital technology cannot work. These pre-programmed instructions are written, and worked out by digital programmers who are humans’. Sometimes, these programs are wrongly written or worked; which infer that the system that such program is meant to run will not function or remain idle unless corrected. Human beings are not impeccable, and they set up everything about digital technologies. Therefore, digital technologies cannot be impeccable. In addition, social media is good with the idea sharing, communication, and distance learning affordance which reduces boredom, sensitise and educate human beings; thus seems to be “Reducing” face to face human interaction. Nonetheless social media is not “Completely” eradicating face to face human interaction and will not. This is evident in my every day to day teaching and learning activities in which I still have to see my lecturers periodically for lectures in classrooms.
    However, the only fixed thing in digital technology is change and how human beings update, control, manipulate and meet up quickly with this change. The failure to meet up with this change will lead to retrogressive activity in human life. Therefore, there is no danger in losing any of our human qualities through deep engagement with digital technology (including social media). In addition, whatever idea that is upheld today becomes stories tomorrow; because schooling used to be a taboo in some African countries at its inception; but borrowing from the benefits that accrue to schooling, parents now strive hard to get their children to schools at all cost in Africa. It also used to be a general opinion of some people that automatic car driving system was meant for disabled people in some African countries; but human beings without disabilities now use automatic cars nowadays. While other unknown technologies unfold, let us not sit down and watch it unfold; but be at alert to adjust quickly to the change; which will not disrupt human existence.

    Carjamtv, (2015). New Mercedes E Class 2016. Retrieved from
    (You tube) on 19/10/2015.

    David, L., (2015). Edu 8225 Session 2 Lecture Big Question. Newcastle: Blog
    Post, retrieved from on 19/10/15.

    Google, (2015). Concept Search. Retrieved on 19/10/2015.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Careful URSUBABA when making statements such as ‘There is no danger of losing human qualities as a result of deep engagement with digital technology, especially social media’. All I need to do is find one example to prove you wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ursubaba says:

        Thank you Dr James. I agree with you. However, these dangers are as a result of human errors. I think so? For example, we are engaged in both online and classroom activities for EDU 8225. This approach is very good in setting a balance of knowledge acquisition (online + classroom engagement). If one of these elements (online + classroom) is missing then there can be inadequacies in the execution of curriculum contents; which can result to danger. Another example is evident in engineering field in which aeroplanes are designed to fly perfectly in the air; and human errors makes it to crash due to miscalculations. Aeroplanes use digital technology too. It is true that human beings gets endangered through digital technology which can result into psychological problem. I agree with you Dr. James. May be my thought is this way as a result of my personal experience and research as an educational technologist and never being endangered since using digital technology for over twelve (12) years of teaching/learning and practice. I designed a Computer Programmed Instructional Package (CPIP) for teaching and learning energy concepts in upper basic technology class in Nigeria for my masters dissertation; which serves as a medium for teaching programmed instruction module in my former university (University of Ilorin). I have attended conferences and seminars in which this kind of argument came up and it was quite interesting.This is just my opinion Dr James and I agree with you.


  4. ursubaba says:

    Nice question Prof David. It was fun answering it.


  5. ursubaba says:

    Hi guys. Is anyone awake? Well have a good night friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ursubaba says:

      Good morning friends. It is so cold. See you in the class by evening time. Have fun. Bye


  6. zhambil says:

    Hi everyone!!!
    Nothing can be dangerous for a man but himself.

    Most of things in this contemporary world have two sides, and a digital technology is not an exception. For instance, overusing social media and other entertainment stuff can be time-consuming and addictive, but not using them can make sb less literate. In addition, with the emergence of technology being illiterate in it might have serious consequences such as; not being able to possess a range of digital skills, knowledge of the basic principles of computing, skills in using computer networks, an ability to engage in online communities and social networks, capture and evaluate information.

    Furthermore, In my opinion, by using DT (including social media) can not be dangerous to lose human qualities, in contrast it will enhance our new skills and new ways of communication and reveal our new potentials, because human brain is unique and complex. However, some people say that some people comunicate by using social media even if person is sitting right next to him, but that doesn’t mean that these people are losing their communicative skills.

    In conclusion, I would like to say that overusing anything is always dengerous whether it’s a food or social media, but using them moderately can make the world a better place;), and the social media is not a denger for human qualities except losing too much time. The latter’s consequences might be harmful, but this is not about that.


    1. There is some deep thinking going on in this blog! In para two you state that ‘using social media can not be dangerous to lose human qualities’ but in para three you say that ‘overusing anything is always dangerous’. Is this a contradiction? If the question is ‘Is there ANY danger’ then is it not better to acknowledge that in extreme cases of over use there will always be a danger? I also like your comment ‘social media is not a danger for human qualities except losing too much time’. I think we probably all waste too much time on social media but I suppose we could also argue that people waste too much time doing a variety of different things.


  7. leerobinson84 says:

    ‘Face-to-face interaction cues are not available to indicate certain expressions that can be lost in translation over the Internet.’ (Shaylyn, 2009)

    A few years ago, I worked in a call centre. I was surprised how quickly I began to disassociate the person on the phone as a human being. You quickly come to view people as a number or database entry. It is very easy to distance yourself with the others when you’re not face to face with a real life person. I believe the reason for the speed of disassociation is because, as human beings, we communicate non verbally as well as verbally. Drucker (2010) states ‘Verbal impact of communication only accounts for 7% of your overall message. Bulk of communication comes across in our appearance and body language’. I would argue then, that the further we veer from face to face communication, the less effective communication becomes.

    Works Cited
    Drucker, P. F. (2010, September 26). The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. Retrieved October 20, 2015, from Rantsand revalations:
    Shaylyn, J. (2009). Lost in Translation: Emotion and Expression. Honors Scholar Theses, Paper 87.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. frendiechan says:

      I like your comment which is related to your personal experience. While your research evidence from Drucker is convincing, the papers that I have read such as Hampton et al. in my latest blog comment, say something quite different. That is what research evidence does!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I didnt realise Drucker was still alive! You make a good point reference communicating with people in the same geographical area. But what about the different people around the world who you wouldn’t communicate with at all if there was no social media? With these people I would certainly agree that using Skype (face to face) is often better than email or the phone. But then skype doesn’t always work and so a lot of calls I revert to the phone as the best way to communicate.


  8. frendiechan says:

    The question that we have been asked is very complex. It refers to a) the nature of human qualities, b) it implies an understanding of deep engagement, and c) it refers to engagement with digital technology d) including social media.

    a) The question of human qualities is far too complex to engage in (Gabriel- Petit, 2014).
    b) The notion of deep engagement is very vague and can range from intense social texting across wide and varied social groups, to the use of existing social media technology to empower learning at work (Zepke & Leach, 2014). This question is too complex to engage in a blog.
    c) Engagement in digital technology is very broad question and can vary from a child’s use of a basic digital game to the use of advanced computer technology used in experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern in Switzerland. Once again, the question we have been asked to respond to is huge.
    d) The reference to social media is also huge and whilst research shows that digital technology significantly enhance social communication (Hampton et al, 2009), it does not necessarily improve any quality of learning.

    Digital technology does enhance the close contacts among people in a social context, but the complexities that will allow us to see its role in lifelong learning (EDB, 2014) or professional learning in the workplace (Tynjala et al, 2014) requires much greater understanding.

    Hampton, K., Goulet, L.S., Her, E.J. & Raine, L. (2009) Social Isolation and New Technology. Pew Research Center. DOI:

    Zepke, N. & Leach, L. (2014) Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Education, November 2010; vol. 11, 3: pp. 167-177

    The EDB (2014) Guide on Life Planning Education and Career Guidance for Secondary Schools. Hong Kong

    Tynjala, P., Hakkinen, P.& Hamalainen, R. (2014) TEL@work: Toward integration of theory and practice. British Journal of Educational Technology. DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12164

    Gabriel-Petit, P. (2014) 13 Human Qualities You Must Have to Succeed in Work and Life.


    1. mmmm – this is interesting as you clearly show a good understanding of the issues involved and their complexities but refuse to engage with the question – because of these complexities. Would you not be prepared to say that there must at least be ‘some’ danger of losing some of our human qualities – in whatever way they can be defined?


      1. frendiechan says:

        In response to Dr. Stanfield’s comment on my blog, I answered the question by showing how complex it is. I prefer to appreciate technology enhanced learning in my professional context where diversity and individual differences are a vital part of teaching.

        When I reflect on the social networks I share with my students, they certainly enhance the interaction between each other, and their personal problems or questions can be addressed immediately. But I doubt if there is much learning or creativity.

        The professional answer to the question for me is more helpful to repond in the context of each different individual, and not with broad generalizations.


  9. osamaalarabi says:

    Is there any danger of us losing any of our human qualities through deep engagement with digital technology (including social media)?

    Human qualities summaries a huge range of characteristics and traits, yet the phrase “danger of losing” is might be questionable in this statement. Through out history, human qualities, reaction and acts change due to external and internal factors including technology.

    If we consider the risk of a lose or change of these qualities, we might really needs to examine some of them and standardize what is acceptable and what we might consider as lose. Moreover, should we blame it on technology for it is effect over social, political or business environment?

    There is no pure black and white in answering this question because we cannot condemn technology for its negative implication on some aspect of our life as it has the upper advantage influence of advancing others. For instance, technology brought the world to a person smartphone screen equipped with social, trade and knowledge solutions. On the other hand, human more and more became dependent on technology, and any action to separate them is exactly like operating to separate a conjoined symmetric twin.

    Finally, since the first time a wheel was invented, humans have relied on technology to make life easier and no matter what are the consequences they still doing so.


    1. I like this statement ‘Through out history, human qualities, reaction and acts change due to external and internal factors including technology’. I suppose we should remember that we are continuously changing/evolving over time. The time scale is probably important as we would need to see the impact over a period of time of a specific population using a specific technology. I don’t think social media has been around for long enough yet to fully understand its impact. Back to Osama’s statement above ‘human qualities, reaction and acts change’. We probably also need to take into account the new human qualities that we may be developing as a result of this deep engagement.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Fatma otain says:

    It’s hard to deny the fact that growing number of people, especially youngsters, chose to live virtual life rather than the real world. Such major changes in life style will introduce a set of new rules of human interactions and acceptable common practice. As a result, I agree with the opinion that deep engagement with technology will have impact on human quality.
    For example, on family level, I used to spend more time with my family member to discuss face to face life issues, whereas now we have a full discussion virtually on what’s up. In digital communication, people become less human in term of using their human capabilities (i.e. body language, voice, feelings etc.) to reach the others. The same thing applies apply on many others daily communication activates such as shopping, studying, friendship and more. Such limitations required a lot of training and efforts to reduce the gap between face to face and digital communication.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ling Bi says:

    Digital technology has changed people’s traditional life and made the impossible possible. Meanwhile, we have to admit that some of our human qualities have been changed even endangered.

    Chatting on social media software like face book or twitter will make people feel that they have made lots of friends in an efficient way. The reason is that when they search software, they can add anyone who wants to be their friends. These “face book friends” make them feel popular, which, however, is not true. The net friends, after all, can’t compare with your good friends around. They seldom appear in your real life, help you solve problem at crucial moment, or share happiness and sorrows with you. The most common things for them to do are only saying hi or giving a like. People would have more friends when they engage in the “cyber space”, but this actually is a waste of time. Instead, it will be better if they can spend the time to meet real friends. Some people who are addicted in network would become less sociable and feel shy to communicate with others. More strangely, when some people have dinner in one room, they all busy with their face books. They would rather to comment other’s photo than to say simple sentences such as, “you look gorgeous today.” I think this is a kind of losing human qualities.


  12. millsjoanne says:

    Throughout our entire life we are taught right from wrong, what is acceptable within society and what is not. As individuals we make choices everyday as to how we demonstrate human qualities such as acceptance, compassion, respect and thoughtfulness. These qualities are not necessarily at the forefront of our mind, they are behaviours which we have learned over time. Human development is a means of constant change, as knowledge of digital technologies develop, so does the connection with such technologies. Interpersonal skills such as communication, decision making, problem solving and critical thinking can all be developed further through the use of technology. Humans generally connect to digital environments which are immersive, those which feel are more personalised. If we look at smart phones for example, these devices allow the user to personalise the software within them to support their lifestyle activities such as email and social media. According to research by the NEF, the average UK adult spends more time consuming digital media or communications than that on sleeping (8h 41m vs 8h 21m). For some, geographical location may play a big part in their ability to communicate and the means by which they can. A parent who at times needs to be away from their children can benefit from the use of technology to maintain the emotional connection, being able to read a bedtime story supported by smart phone technology such as FaceTime. In a professional context face-to-face conversations can be accommodated by digital conferencing. Elements of behaviours such as facial expressions and hand gestures can still be part of such communication with technologies such as Skype. For some people in society digital communities play a vital part in maintaining a connection to other likeminded people and a lifeline to the outside world. I feel it is dependent on the individual as to whether human qualities are at risk of deteriorating or being entirely lost. Likewise, it is on an individual basis as to what deep engagement with technology actually is.


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