Blue dye plus water? Or blue water?
Paul Levinson, as referenced by Derrick de Kerckhove in The Skin of Culture says, “The addition of a drop of blue dye to a glass of water results not in blue dye plus water, but in blue water: a new reality.” De Kerckhove indicates that McLuhan (his mentor) and others pointed out that “the inculcation of the habit of literacy results not in a pre-literate world plus readers, but in a literate world: a new world in which everything is seen through the eyes of literacy“.
So is there a new reality with regards to technology merging with humanity?
Have we successfully integrated Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) into the lives of students? It seems to me that this will be achieved when we see them not simply using ICT as ‘tools’, but rather when we see students thinking differently as a result of their ubiquitous presence and facility. The invention of words, and subsequently the printing press, resulted in a new literacy because people now had words with which to think and to communicate. ‘Blue water’ with respect to ICT means that people must sufficiently appropriate these technologies in order that they become ‘media with which to think and to communicate’.
Or perhaps it is indeed the wrong question to ask – ‘have we successfully integrated ICT’? Perhaps the situation is that in spite of the education system, people are in the ‘blue water’ of a technological literacy. People adapt and evolve faster than the systems they must occupy.
I think, as teachers, we have a role to play.