Is it possible to be a digital-free academic?
Do you have any colleagues who do not:
- use e-mail
- write with a word processor
- teach with PowerPoint
- use online resources - including Google and library digital databases - for research
- analyze data using statistical packages (like SPSS or SAS) or create and utilize spreadsheets (Excel)
- engage in group writing with collaborative platforms such as Google Docs
- carry a smart phone (or any cell phone)
- own a tablet or an e-reader
- tweet or blog - and don’t read tweets or blogs
- teach with a learning management system (LMS) such as Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, or D2L
- participate in open online education
- read online news
- shop online
- book travel online
- watch streaming video
- develop graphical or visual presentations
- create and edit videos
- participate in online meetings and webinars
- manage finances and pay bills through online banking
- play games on a phone or computer
- listen to audiobooks
What is missing from this list?
What percentage of your time is consumed by the digitally mediated activities listed below?
I’d estimate that perhaps 90 percent of my academic work runs through some sort of digital technology. The only time when I’m not using digital tools is when I’m in face-to-face meetings. And even then, the meetings usually have some digital component.
So I’m looking for the no-digital academic.
That educator and scholar who works like everyone once did before the personal computer, the internet, the smart phone, and the app.
A colleague who does not carry a phone, who writes long-hand or with a typewriter, and conducts research only paper books and journals. The instructor who refuses to show slides, and has no interest in posting readings online or making use of the gradebook or online discussion forums.
Does this person exist?
Or maybe we should be looking for the digital-light academic? The very late adopting professor. The person who is not anti-digital technology - but who rather is intensely deliberate in their digital choices.
How can we give the digital-free and digital-light academic a voice?
What do they know that we don’t?