After reading Chip Bruce and Maureen Hogan’s “The Disappearance of Technology: Toward an Ecological Model of Literacy,” our class created movie posters using Photoshop that attempted to capture a central them of the reading.
The result of this effort is available here: http://gallery.me.com/pb112233/100088.
If you’d like to get a better sense of the thinking behind each poster, see the description below. We’d welcome your comments:
I considered the following quote when I came up with my movie poster:
“As technologies embed themselves in everyday discourse and activity, a curious thing happens. The more we look, the more they slip into the background. Despite our attention, we lose sight of the way they give shape to our daily lives.This disappearance effect is evident when we consider whether a technology empowers people to do things that would be difficult, or even impossible otherwise” (2).
I thought about how technology really does become taken for granted and “invisible” in our daily lives, and how in many ways this can be more harmful than good. The idea that technology is becoming more commonplace, so much so that it disappears and goes unquestioned stood out to me because I immediately thought of times when technology is noticed more than the things going on around us. For example, in the case of the picture I found, there is a GPS unit and either an iPhone or an iPod mounted in the front of a car. For a driver, this seemingly commonplace, necessary technology can be dangerously distracting, yet many people don’t consider that when driving. So I decided to make my poster address this.
The idea that jumped out at me from this article was that our society relies on the use of technology so heavily that we barely even think of it anymore. As the article states, “embedding of the technology in the matrix of our lives makes it invisible.” Technology has become just an everyday occurrence – it’s natural. That’s the concept I was working with as I created my movie poster. The photograph shows what looks to be a palm tree (something that represents the natural or organic) but it’s actually some kind of phone tower. It shows just how the line between “natural” and “technological” has blurred.
“Through this process, we move from looking at the technology as an addition to life to looking at life through that technology. The embedding of the technology in the matrix of our lives makes it invisible. In fact, the greater its integration into
daily practices, the less it is seen as a technology at all.” (Bruce and Hogan 2)
The process which Bruce and Hogan speak of in this quote deals with humans looking through technology and not at it. This implication suggests that the over abundance of technology forces the user to be unaware of how technology works. Bruce describes the disappearance as more than a metaphor; therefore, the merging of technology and everyday life helps create the inability see technology as it actually is. My movie poster consists of the insides of a computer, a computer mouse, a keyboard, and a monitor. The poster strips away the normal visions of what a computer looks like and encourages the viewer to understand how the system works. Bruce argues that technology physically disappears with the over abundance of various technologies.
“As technologies embed themselves in everyday discourse and activity, a curious thing happens. The more we look, the more they slip into the background. Despite our attention, we lose sight of the way they give shape to our daily lives.” (2)
For my poster, I had this quote in mind. I wanted my poster to convey an aesthetically appealing yet nauseating feeling; I wanted people to wonder about what they were looking for. I felt like the idea of a child reading an I Spy book trying to find the riddle’s objects was synonymous with us trying to find what we felt the definition of technology was. Like Bruce and Hogan stated, we forget about things that we use every day and they meld into the background – just like how the various technologies do in the movie poster.
“As technologies embed themselves in everyday discourse and activity, a curious
thing happens. The more we look, the more they slip into the background.” (2)
I was trying to display the idea that technology disappears so easily that we forget that it’s even technology in the first place. Yet these technologies are often more than just useful, they have become necessary, and because of this we are often at the mercy of technology because we rely so much on the fact that it works. So in the end the relationship of power between us and technology changes, because the more we use technology, the more its absence means an absence of power from us, based on our reliance on technologies.
“Once the status of the tool as technology has fully merged into daily practice, the disability to use it becomes an essential attribute of certain people” (3).
The thought process behind my poster involved how technology builds upon itself and how different technology looks and feels to people of different ages. From the Bruce and Hogan article, I gathered information about how technology becomes integrated into our lives and eventually becomes seemingly “natural.” This poster attempted to look at all the technology that had to be invented first to make the Iphone possible. For the kids in the photo, they do not see these older technologies and know the Iphone as adults may know and recognize the technology in the background and have not adjusted to the new technology. Adults often have the choice to reject new technology if they choose, but also understand what they understand was once a new technology as well. The older technology fades and gives way to new inventions that become normal in our lives, especially for children who do not know any different.
Bruce and Hogan discuss the dynamics of technology and how it is evolving in our society. One issue in technology that is brought up in the article is that more basic types of technology are not being recognized as much as the latest and greatest, “literacy today is becoming dependent on embedded systems that are invisible to the user” (4). Some facets of our everyday lives are possible because of our dependence on the most basic of technologies. This poster attempted to convey the differences in how different generations envision technology. An individual from an older generation may appreciate the innovations of stairs and architecture, while today’s students may envision instruments they use which have buttons.
In Bruce and Hogan’s document, they state, “the ambient technologies can alternately able or disable an individual…” This quote was interesting because while the stairs are viewed as an invisible technology they still provide a disability for people in wheelchairs. This is disheartening since people in wheelchairs already see themselves at a disadvantage. As such, I created this poster to explain that technology is unintentionally biased. It creates biases in order to advance civilization on a technological level. However, in spite of these biases people in wheelchairs have accepted elevators as an improvement to their handicap which semi-balances the spectrum.
The part in Bruce and Hogan’s text that caught my attention the most was when they discuss how certain people are disabled by technology. If you are not up to speed with technology, then you will be left behind. As someone who is not as adapted to technology as others, I really related to this disconnect from technology. So, with my poster I used a picture of a frustrated girl next to an iPhone to represent that not everyone understands how to use the most up-to-date technology, and that includes the younger generation, like myself. Not all technology is a perfect fit with everyone, so that’s what I wanted to highlight. Not everyone is able to use technology to their advantage, and I think that is an important aspect for all of us to keep in mind.
Bruce and Hogan discuss that, “Tools are often portrayed as mechanistic, exterior, autonomous, and concrete devices that accomplish tasks and create products. We do not generally think of them as intimately entwined with social and biological lives…More than mechanistic, they are organic, because they merge with our social, physical, and psychological beings” (2).
This poster attempts to show how many technologies either go unnoticed or are not regularly thought of as technologies. It attempts to present the idea that over time, a technology becomes so natural to our lives that it seems to disappear.
Bruce and Hogan discuss the idea of technology in the classroom and how
rather than simply being an aid, “new technologies [are] becoming a premise, a requisite for success” (4). Today, the only way for academic success is to have the technology. At the very least, you need a computer to succeed, and as technologies continue to progress, we will need those as well. Technology is mandatory for success.
I wanted my poster to convey this idea of technology as a mandatory aspect of the classroom. I used the school supplies list to demonstrate the idea that you need certain tools in school, but all the ones that were necessary in the past have become almost obsolete. And, in demonstrating this, it demonstrates how our society is changing and new technologies become more and more predominant and necessary.
In “The Disappearance of Technology,” Bruce and Hogan examine the differing views of technology. They consider two positions in particular, those who support technology and view it as an equal opportunity tool for all, and others who view it as a tool that discriminates and takes away jobs and creativity. This led me to ask the question in my poster, “The Computer: Friend or Foe?” because I feel this is the focus of their article. The question of whether the computer, and technology as a whole, caters to all and serves them the same way is examined in the article, and using this in my tagline would engage viewers to see my “movie.”
We’ll spend time in class today continuing our work on the Photoshop movie poster and begin to evaluate and self-evaluate our drafts. We’ll have four groups (listed below). I’d like each of you to evaluate your poster and then respond to two members of your group by email. You should send your emails no later than Tuesday night, 2/2. In other words, each of you will send three emails: your own self evaluation and a response to the two other members of your group. Please copy me on all responses.
Your guiding questions are listed below:
* How well does the movie poster articulate a central concern of the Bruce and Hogan reading? Can one identify the article by looking at the poster? What might be done to make it stronger?
* Does the poster have a movie title and subtitle that captures the sentiment of the article? (As we discussed, your movie title should not be a repeat of the article’s title.)
* Do text and image seem connected in interesting ways?
* What revisions might you recommend?
* If you saw this movie poster, would you want to see this movie?
* Does the work properly cite images from Creative Commons?
Your grade for this project will be based both on your poster and your participation in this process.
GROUP 1: Christine, Tali, CJ
GROUP 2: Hannah, Andy, Pedro
GROUP 3: Matt, Lisa, Marisa
GROUP 4: Alex, Brian, Timothy
Here’s a link that we’ll use today to post our revisions. I’ll provide password info in class.