Monday, September 10, 2007

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?

The Noble Experiment part 1 (the plan)

As Roger the Shrubber once said, "There is a pestilence upon this land." That pestilence is Microsoft Windows, particularly Windows Vista, which came pre-loaded on my new Acer Aspire T-690. I've been fighting buying a new computer for about 6 years now, scraping by on used and surplus units. I kept Windows light by running Win2k Professional with no bells and whistles, allowing me to run Macromedia Studio 8 on Pentium III computers. Slowly, I've been eliminating Windows from my home computers in favor of Ubuntu & Xubuntu Linux. I've had to keep one Windows computer to do web design, as Studio is very limited in Ubuntu under Crossover Office. Three weeks ago, the day of judgement came when my only remaining Windows computer, a Dell Inspiron 4100, died, losing a lot of web design client data, I might add. This is one of those bad deaths that you can't recover from no matter what you do. There were missing drivers and damaged registry files. The bottom line, it's still a paperweight until I can get the data off of the physical drive by another means.