I have a confession to make. It’s kind of embarrassing, so, let me breath in and breath out. Here it comes: I don´t have a mobile or, as we say in America, a cell phone.
Till now, I see no benefit in a cell phone. To me, its (annoying) ringtone or vibration gets in the middle of everything, bursting in, and the worst of all, making me reachable, traceable, and available 24/7. The funny thing is that I just signed up for the MobiMOOC. Yes, mobi as in mobile. So, I guess I’m going to need one. But, I still don’t know. Not having a cell phone is such a great thing. Do I really need one? What do you think? I mean, is technology mandatory in order to be connected?
Not long ago, I saw on TV the story of a family so into technology that they barely talked to each other. The eldest son texted hundreds of messages every day, but he couldn’t say “good morning” to his parents; the daughter was addicted to social networks; the little boy couldn’t stop playing video games; the mom, a non-stop cell phone talker, and the dad, a workaholic with a gusto for every sport broadcast to certain on TV. A psychologist came up with a radical solution to help out this needy family: he took away all their electronic devices for a week. The first three days, they suffered big time, yeah, total drama. But, by the fourth day, they started to connect to each other, and by the end of the week they were engaged, I mean, connected.
So, back to my question: Is technology mandatory in order to be connected?
Thomas Baker asked himself a similar question on his blog: Does connectivism require a computer, an internet connection, or, in my case, a cell phone? The answer is “no”. We don’t need technology to be connected. Technology makes it easier most of the time, faster no doubt. But, the truth is that it doesn’t guarantee a connection, because it takes more than just technology or a device to be connected.
To my understanding, connectivism is about reaching out and letting others come in. It’s about sharing what we know and who we are. Connectivism is, in my opinion, a state of mind, a way of life, the way to be.
So, you want to connect? Good for you, that’s great! Start by looking around you, take the closest person to you, now smile, make eye contact, start a conversation. You don´t need any device to do that.
But if you are lucky enough to have been blessed with technology access, congratulations, that’s even better, you have the amazing opportunity to connect with anyone around the world who has, of course, been blessed with technology too, since less than 30% of the world’s population have Internet access. So, technology, Internet, devices… oh, we are privileged, my friend, so let’s do something great and worthy with it and not waste it.