If you type the word ‘digitalism’ into Google you would believe it was a German electronic duo who’ve come to reignite our love of 99 Luftballoons.

In fact, digitalism is the adoption of technology in our everyday life.

In a video released by Boston Dynamics of their new high-tech Atlas robot, a human is seen pushing the robot over from behind with a big pole. The robot falls to its ‘hands’ and ‘knees’, but soon gets up. The point was to show that the robot can balance and right itself, but many were appalled by the ‘mistreatment’ of the robot. “The guy who kicks the robot will be fully responsible for the forthcoming robot-human wars,” wrote one. People are emotional creatures, even when it comes to technology.

Social media and technology have completely changed the way an entire generation interacts with each other. Many believe that there is a loss of ‘real’ human connection, but relationships can now span the globe and be formed between people who may never have been able to meet in person – an exciting possibility. Technology such as Skype Translator is even starting to overcome the language barriers that can interfere with instant online communication.

What are the implications of this 24/7 global world?

We are always on show, choosing what version of ourselves to be and putting our best digital foot forward. Many people portray themselves on social media as who they wish to be: a connoisseur of fine art and wine, the next bake-off star, a high-paid jet setter living the modern-day dream. This is not so much a lie as a selected version of the truth, where many will avoid talking about the long queues, jet-lag, hangovers and weight-gain.

Even the way we type is changing. The iPad generation types with their thumbs as much as with their whole hands, and thought-powered control of computers is advancing apace: perhaps soon we won’t need our hands to communicate in writing at all!

Changing expectations in the world of assessment

In the world of assessment, our desire for everything to be at the touch of a button is increasingly modifying the way we test and mark students’ work. We are entering into an age where handwritten tests could soon be obsolete, and where students are wanting instantaneous results for even the most complicated of exams.

It can seem impossible to keep up, let alone prepare for what education might look like ten years from now. There is also the psychological impact to digitalism that needs to be taken into consideration. Many fear the takeover of robots as is, you just need to look at modern filmography to know that to be true (The Terminator, The Matrix, iRobot, Ex Machina, etc.).

By modifying operational functions, whilst still keeping the human touch, we can take precautions for the future. The use of onscreen marking in assessment has allowed us to do this. Awarding organisations are able to use online software to monitor where exam scripts are, and how they are being marked. Exam markers are able to mark exam scripts and coursework at any time, in any (secure) location. Something that is especially useful for the 21st Century teacher. On top of that, professional qualification awarding bodies are able to mimic the working life of those in offices, and have students sit exams on computers.

Digital is spreading its tentacles in all directions. There is no denying the direction of travel; the world is changing, and we need to adapt with it. But while the methods change, our basic needs and wants don’t. The relentless march of digital can overlook that, at its core, this is still all about people; how we learn, how we interact and how we get the tasks of our daily life done.

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