First of all, let me say that I am not a Luddite. I am about as far from a Luddite as I could be. But there comes a point where, in my role of the blogger-in-chief for the collective unconscious of the restructuring world, I have to throw sabots in the looms. (Or, in this case, throw Louboutins at the iPads).
If the thought of someone hitting your iPad with a high heeled shoe makes you cringe, then you need to read this.
In a recent article, Dave Paul Strohecher commented on Nick Pearce’s examination on his blog of the zombification of higher education. Pearce observed that the use of VLE’s (virtual learning environments) was replacing “face to face human learning” with “undead digital teaching”:
In the teaching model, VLE’s provide control and consistency in a way not possible with traditional methods. VLE’s do this by limiting personal interaction. Strohecher suggests that teachers are driven to the use of VLE’s by student apathy.
Use of VLE’s results in less personal interaction, leading, predictably, to more apathy.
In restructuring practice, digital has replaced traditional in numerous ways: e-mail, e-discovery, webinars, outsourcing, to name a few. The more convenient and compelling the technological “toy,” the more it replaces human interaction. In other words, the more addictive the toy, the more undead you become.
While control and conformity may be useful in education, they can backfire in a restructuring practice. This is fairly obvious, and the ways to prevent disaster are well known. High profile examples involving redaction “wardrobe malfunctions” and “smoking gun” emails have had much airtime over the past few years. However, I am referring to a more insidious problem of the digital age – the one that Nick Pearce describes in education. By turning the practice “digital,” are restructuring professionals, like the teachers in Nick Pearce’s study, trying to control their clients instead of trying to understand them? And have our digital “toys” created apathy, for us and everyone else?
Is restructuring practice becoming “undead”? Can its soul be saved?