Adobe Photoshop and Distorting Reality

I'm teaching Adobe Photoshop Elements to my eighth grade students for the first three cycles of Technology class this year, and I've been spending a lot of time examining the authentic career applications of such a product. Elements is essentially Photoshop without the Web Design and Graphic Design tools, which limits its practical application to photo enhancement and manipulation.

Incidentally, I do have some moral qualms about the primary application of Photoshop in the world of publishing for photo enhancement and manipulation. This situation is nicely summed up by the "Evolution" film, available at Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" web site.

 

Obviously, this is a reality that I will be sharing with my students, but it begs the following questions:

  • Do we, as educators, have a moral responsibility to equip students with the knowledge of the consequences of the technology we're training them to use?

  • How is it that we are encouraged to teach applications that ultimately harm a multitude of individuals, but are forbidden to use collaborative web based tools on the premise that we may encounter something offensive?

  • By sanctioning such commercial products and their related careers and media whilst banning community based tools, known for breaking down such barriers as media vs. public, are we not perpetuating such harmful distortions for future generations?

Comments

  1. Let me start by saying that I'm glad you are asking some hard questions. These questions you are asking were not questions we've had to think about in the past. These are new questions, for a new generation.

    My responses are as follows:
    1.) Yes, we absolutely have a responsibility. That responsibility is not only moral, but ethical as well. We have an obligation as teachers to do this. If we questioned our responsibility to teach kids the alphabet but not how to read, we'd be accused of leaving that child behind, right? Why should the responsibility of entire scope of technology be any different?

    2.) Historically, education is traditional. Education is behind the business world. The busniess world developed these tools, and education will be slow to pick up on them. That being said, there is a balance point in a network that technicians are always looking for. That balance point is to not allow offensive materials, but not hinder the educational process. Its a fine line, but one in which we need to continue to expand. As I see it, if paper had been outlawed because of the possibility that someone would write a bad word on it, then were would we be today? Ya gotta give at some point....

    3.) If we continue down the path we are on, we will be doing our future generations a disservice. A quote I'll leave you with that pertains to this discussion: "If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got." –Author Unknown

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  2. cool. I hope we do that soon. because I would like to turn a ugly person into a model.

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  3. i hope to do that its cool

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  4. that's really cool. i agree with david, i hope we do that soon. =]]

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  5. wow that girl really changed that looks impossible to change her from that into that, but I guess you can these days because we have all this new technology. Thats pretty cool how they turned that girl into a super model!!!!!!!

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  6. i hope we do that its cool

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  7. wow that girl really changed that looks impossible to change her from that into that, but I guess you can these days because we have all this new technology. Thats pretty cool how they turned that girl into a super model!!!!!!!

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  8. that's really cool! i hope we do that soon. =]]

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  9. that’s really cool. i agree with david, i hope we do that soon. =]]

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  10. This is quite amazing.
    I believe it's stupid they turn celebrities into ickyy or superr not ickkyy "males" & "females".

    I like this project we are doing.


    :]

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  11. that girl looked so different in the end. i cant belive how much you cant mess with sombody on photoshop. it looks really cool!

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  12. That was a very inspiring video. It showed me how much pictures get edited to make them look more beautiful!

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