Tag Archives: technology

COMMENTARY: Institution must recognize importance of technology

Throughout the 2013 Season, select speakers at Chautauqua Institution — specifically chaplains in residence — have cast technological innovation in a pessimistic light. But it is not the criticism of smartphones and video games that is problematic. Rather, it is the sheer lack of a response to this criticism which serves as a reminder: The Institution has historically offered very little programming on technology and culture.

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Orenstein grounds progressivism in Jewish tradition

Rabbi Debra Orenstein could boast of her impressive resume. She’s supported progressive movements such as LGBT rights and is an alumna of the first entering class at the Jewish Theological Seminary to include women. But when approaching Judaism in the 21st century, Orenstein wants to go back to the basics.

“In a sense, my lecture is very radical,” she said. “And in a sense, it could have been given 500 years ago.”

Orenstein, the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Israel in Emerson, N.J., will speak at 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy about the promise and limits of tradition and the promise and limits of change. She sees it all starting with a return to the essential values of the Hebrew Bible.

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Panel to present findings of council on technology, laws of war

A panel led by Braden Allenby, Wednesday’s 10:45 a.m. lecturer, will discuss “Implications of Emerging Military and Security Technologies for the Laws of War” at 10:45 a.m. Saturday in the Hall of Philosophy.

The council, made of 17 consuls from various fields, spent the past week meeting and discussing the impact of new technological developments on traditional laws of war. Representatives of the council will present the results of their weeklong discussion, including new questions, perspectives or conclusions that may have emerged.

Allenby and his co-chair, George Lucas of the United States Naval Postgraduate School, will be among the representatives to present the council’s summary. They plan to take questions and hope to begin a dialogue on the topic.

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Photo by Michelle Kanaar.

Jones: Using social media can nurture faith community

“We need to be active, and involved and informed agents shaping the use of technology around us today,” Verity A. Jones said Thursday during the 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture.

In the Hall of Philosophy, Jones continued the Week Six theme of “The Life of Faith and the Digital Age,” with a lecture titled “Thinking Theologically about New Media.”

Jones is project director of the New Media Project at Union Theological Seminary, and former editor of DisciplesWorld. The New Media Project is a research-based project that helps religious leaders understand social media from a theological perspective. The project does not instruct religious leaders in the basics of using social media, but it explores the theological questions the new digital age inspires.

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Sherry Turkle, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology initiative on Technology and Self, answers questions after her morning lecture Monday morning in the Amphitheater. Photo by Michelle Kanaar.

Turkle: People must embrace solitude for conversation

Feeling lonely has become a problem people need to solve, and connectivity through technology has become the solution. But it also leads to isolation.

As people feel the need to connect more, the ability to have conversations diminishes.

“We make our technologies, and then, in turn, our technologies make and shape us,” said Sherry Turkle, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Initiative on Technology and Self. “They make and shape our digital identities.”

Turkle spoke about solitude and how the communications culture has shifted as a result of technology during Monday’s morning lecture as the first speaker of Week Six, themed “Digital Identity.”

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Technology lowers our expectations of others, Turkle says

“It doesn’t just change what we do, it changes who we are.”

Sherry Turkle, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology initiative on Technology and Self, will kick off Week Six’s theme of “Digital Identity” at 10:45 a.m. Monday in the Amphitheater by addressing how technological devices have indelibly changed public culture.

Turkle said the initial idea of hand-held devices such as cellphones was that they would transform how people talk to and get in touch with one another. But that technology has also changed the nature of relationships: how we relate to our children, the quality and nature of conversation, how we fall in love.

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Hrabowski: In American higher education, a new emphasis on STEM

Statistics about underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers are especially troubling. Underrepresented groups make up 29 percent of the national population, and they are the fastest-growing in the nation. Unfortunately, members of these groups represent only 9 percent of the nation’s college-educated science and engineering workforce.

I recently had the privilege of chairing the National Academies committee that produced the report “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.” The report documents the poor performance of these students in STEM, and it lays out a number of recommendations in areas ranging from undergraduate retention to teacher preparation.

Many might be surprised that underrepresented minorities aspire to earn STEM degrees at roughly the same rate as other groups. However, only about 20 percent of these students complete undergraduate STEM programs within five years. And while white and Asian American students are more successful, their completion rates are also troubling, with only 33 and 42 percent of those students, respectively, finishing STEM degrees in five years. The country is struggling to remain globally competitive in science and technology. Retaining and graduating undergraduates of all races in STEM fields should be a priority in American higher education.

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