Distance no object? Why size IS important

It’s fairly common to think about the “communication” part of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in terms of sending and receiving information over great distances. But what about the opposite, ie communicating over very small distances?

A good thing or a bad one?An Alex cartoon in the Daily Telegraph some years ago was a joke about people in a meeting communicating in a meeting via their laptops, commenting on the chairman’s tie. A more recent one is a variation on the same theme. But there is a serious side to any discussion concerning cell phones and other mobile technology:

  • Young people frequently use their phones to “talk” to each other, through SMS messaging, whilst in the same room as their parents.
  • They do the same during lessons.
  • There is a growing concern about the use of mobile phones for “tweeting” during criminal trials.
  • People can use mobile phones to take surreptitious photos of people whilst appearing to be having a conversation.

These issues have arisen because of the decrease in size of devices and an increase in their communicating capabilities.

If you’re looking for an activity which would address the need to look at the effects of technology on society, perhaps a useful exercise for students might be to take one of these issues (or the issues referred to in the articles listed below) and discuss what, if anything, should be done about it.

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