The advent of digital technology may have changed the way the world communicates and functions, but its origins date back centuries.
St. John's College
September 29, 2017
The advent of digital technology may have changed the way the world communicates and functions, but its origins date back centuries.”
This fall, some St. John’s College students are taking an in-depth look at that history, as well as the philosophy, effects, implications and other aspects of digital technology in a new preceptorial.
The course, for undergraduate and graduate students, began in August on the college’s Annapolis campus and is set to begin October 23 in Santa Fe.
The goal is to understand technology and computation in a basic way, from its origins to its implementation to its current and future effects, says Emily Langston, associate dean for graduate programs in Annapolis.
“We want to think about both the possibilities and what the limits of this technology might be,” Langston says. “It’s important to ask questions about its implications and to consider how the ongoing interactions we have with computers shape our own understanding of the world as we go about our daily lives.”
The preceptorials stem largely from the work of the college’s Mellon Foundation Study Group on Digital Technology, which spent the last two years studying digital technology and whether it has a place in St. John’s classrooms. Deans and faculty will meet after the fall semester to review the preceptorials and determine whether to incorporate digital technology lessons into upper-level math or lab.
“A thinking person needs to have a critique of technology,” says David McDonald, associate dean for graduate programs in Santa Fe. “That doesn’t mean a rejection. It just means a nuanced and thoughtful sense of what this thing is, so one doesn’t approach it unquestioningly or without reflecting on what it’s about, what it’s for, what it does for us, but also what it does to us.”