The mission of the Program for Assistive Technologies for Underprivileged (PATU) is to allow students to practice engineering skills while they develop strong communication and teamwork skills, gain global perspective, and learn social responsibility through projects for persons with disabilities that otherwise could not afford assistance.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Unplug to connect

As a group we went to Itacare for the long holiday weekend, where the students got to enjoy many cool things about Brazil, like paddle boarding and kayaking on the ocean, dancing Forro, eating and hanging out at the beach, hiking through the jungle to a secluded beach, and eating at Casa de Empada.  

One thing we did NOT experience was internet for three whole days!  I thought it was a good opportunity to ask the students to reflect on how we communicate and how we are so connected.  Here is the reflection I posed to them today (they get a reflection question each day as part of their course requirements):

"We seem to live life overly connected-everyone has their phones in their hands constantly texting, emailing, or connecting to friends and family through social media. Five years ago most of the significant social media wasn't available on phones. Ten years ago it was barely available at all.  Fifteen years ago there was no texting and 20 years ago no cell phones (practically).  Have you observed the connectedness of the people of Brazil? Not just those who are in our group, but all of the people in the cities we are in. How do they compare to those in the U.S.? How does this change us? What does this say about our culture?"

Enjoy!  Tomorrow we begin the real journey.

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