Calling All Luddites!

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May 30, 2013 by norrisae

In responding to the challenges which face anyone working with technology it is worth noting things haven’t always been as they are now. When reminiscing at the recent ODHE conference in Windermere on items of technology and working practices which have long since passed into history books, we discussed typing pools to write our letters. This made it unnatural to write to colleagues when picking up the phone was a far more attractive proposition. However, given the pace of modern life and the expectations for fast response time, the e mail has become indispensable. Our conclusion was that adjustments we have made will continue with the introduction of new ways of working such as social media, twitter and, yes, even blogging. Progress stops for no-one. The original description of a Luddite may not quite fit modern day dilemmas. Luddites were artisans who protested against the newly-developed labour-saving textile machinery; the stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution (1811-1817,) which made it possible to replace the artisans with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite. The modern day “Luddite” doesn’t have the luxury to resist the information revolution which has swept across the globe. The proliferation of communications technologies continues unabated. But it doesn’t stop us from questioning the relational effects of e-mailing someone at the next desk, cautious and sensible adoption is the key!

Marcus Hill, Senior Staff Development Adviser, University of Leeds

Charlotte Croffie, Organisation and Staff Development Consultant, UCL

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