In conversations with my university students (all of whom wish to become future teachers) about how and why they use what they either conveniently call “social media” or “technology,” I have been surprised how often they mention the unreliable and oftentimes deceptive nature of information available in their native language.

Clearly as many of us have seen, content can be purposefully misleading, yet sadly quite a few Cambodians have not only expressed a mistrust of science but also a belief that technology itself alone can be deceptive. One of the obvious pitfalls of technology is the ease of which users become dependent and incapable of critical consumption. Technology is best utilized when it enables users to become autonomous & independent.

As I frequently say, “Smart phones do not make smart people.”

Any conversation about the educational utility of technology is incomplete if it only examines how technology is used by consumers and viewers of content. This is precisely why I have repeatedly asked all of my current BA students to consider how technology may be utilized as a tool for creating and sharing useful information. If information & communication resources are merely used as passive sources of information and entertainment, then users are neglecting an important opportunity and means for interactive and integrative learning.

As we continue to explore character building in 21st century education, I have asked my students to please keep the following questions in their minds:

  • ~Why are there so little online educational resources currently available in the Cambodian language?
  • ~What additional types of content would you be happy to see available in Khmer?
  • ~What kinds of educational content are you willing to create?

In other words, if we do not use technology to create & share content, we are not using technology to its full potential.


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