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“Developmental technologies – Technological evolution and human development” by Elvis Mazzoni and Martina Benvenuti – Book review

“Developmental technologies – Technological evolution and human development” by Elvis Mazzoni and Martina Benvenuti – Book review

Virtual reality, robotics, artificial intelligence: we should no longer ask ourselves about the risks or opportunities of new technologies but finally consider them allies. With the lens of psychology (with particular reference to the areas of development and education), the book Developmental technologies – Technological evolution and human development helps us to look consciously at their effects and potential.

Advertising message We live constantly immersed in technology, we use it every day for multiple activities and we could no longer do otherwise. More than online, we could define ourselves as onlife since online and offline experiences are integrated and not clearly distinct. Looking at the smartphone is the first thing we do in the morning and the last thing in the evening; in the middle, there is a day in which computers, tablets, smartwatches, digital assistants have supported us in many activities. Does it make sense to reason again in clear terms, distinguishing risks and opportunities? Maybe not, we are already in the second generation of digital natives, adults of tomorrow who were born surrounded by devices. It would then be more appropriate to make a distinction on how technologies are used because it is the how that determines the outcome, positive or negative, which is:

There are two possible effects of the technologies: on the one hand a capacity building, on the other a potential narrowing given by the fact that each artifact, being characterized by specific methods of use, circumscribes the methods of use. However, we can also speak of expansive learning, when a new range of opportunities derives from a reconceptualization of an object and the initial motivations that led to its creation; not to mention all the cognitive processes involved in processing and storing information, with the continuous shifting of attention to multiple stimuli and different information sources (we speak of interaction overload, the load of interactions in which we are simultaneously involved). As claimed by the great classics Vygotsky and Piaget, learning is something dynamic that happens through continuous adjustments. Like the proximal development zone, the artifacts represent physical and / or mental extensions of the body and human abilities, which in some cases represent a continuity with existing tools (assimilation) while in other cases they are a breaking point and involve unprecedented activities (accommodation). For example, the advent of the mobile phone has represented an evolution of some features of an already existing tool whose use has been rooted for many years, while for other tools, such as printing, man has found himself facing completely changes. unpublished. the artifacts represent physical and / or mental extensions of the body and human abilities, which in some cases represent a continuity with existing tools (assimilation) while in other cases they are a breaking point and involve unprecedented activities (accommodation). For example, the advent of the mobile phone has represented an evolution of some features of an already existing tool whose use has been rooted for many years, while for other tools, such as printing, man has found himself facing completely changes. unpublished. the artifacts represent physical and / or mental extensions of the body and human abilities, which in some cases represent a continuity with already existing tools (assimilation) while in other cases they are a breaking point and involve unprecedented activities (accommodation). For example, the advent of the mobile phone has represented an evolution of some features of an already existing tool whose use has been rooted for many years, while for other tools, such as printing, man has found himself facing completely changes. unpublished.

Advertising message The still controversial relationship with technology is partly due to fears and fears that are difficult to eradicate. Those over the years are worried about being cut out if they don’t keep up to date, conversely the younger ones fear that many jobs will be replaced by increasingly refined machines. This is why we speak of the knowledge economy, the knowledge economy, because more developed countries increasingly require less operational and more conceptual skills, which require higher levels of education and training. But if we stop to reflect, we understand how much technology is a resource and a help. Without excluding negative uses (just think of fake news, phubbing, flaming, among the most studied phenomena), the fields in which technologies are successfully applied are manifold:

This book helps us to answer some questions with references to literature and with concrete examples, reminding us that technology is not an enemy but our partner. With particular attention to the role of affordance in the processes of acquiring and expanding new skills, the text deepens and offers food for thought on functional and dysfunctional aspects and on the role of technological evolution.