"Wherefore those that invented Microscopes . . . [did] the world more injury then benefit.""But as Boys that play with watry Bubbles, or fling Dust into each others Eyes, or make a Hobby-horse of Snow, are worthy of reproof rather then praise, for wasting their time with useless sports; so those that addict themselves to unprofitable Arts, spend more time then they reap benefit thereby."
Hindsight is 20/20, so of course we know what wonders the "Art of Micrography" has done for scientific discovery. We can laugh at silly Cavendish's shortsightedness.
This parallels to our oft-stated perception of internet use. We have a great deal of scorn for people addicted to technology (Facebook, video games, Internet, etc.), and we aren't ashamed of it. Are we, too, displaying our shortsightedness? Have we dismissed Facebook as a worthless waste of time without realizing its potential to do good? I can't say I know a way that Facebook, for example, will change the world for the better, but I do know that it has allowed me to find addresses to write to my friends on missions, contact Tibetans in India, and find old friends who'd moved far away, all of which would have been very difficult without Facebook.
We do, however, have specific counsel from an apostle of God concerning the digital age. Elder Bednar said:
I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls. . . . I am not suggesting all technology is inherently bad; it is not. Nor am I saying we should not use its many capabilities in appropriate ways to learn, to communicate, to lift and brighten lives, and to build and strengthen the Church; of course we should. But I am raising a warning voice that we should not squander and damage authentic relationships by obsessing over contrived ones."
Technology in the classroom, used appropriately, can "lift and brighten lives" by helping students to learn effectively. However, our scorn for technology obsession likely comes from the "suffocating" effect of misuse, the dangers that inspired Elder Bednar's warning. How are we missing the full potential of technology? How can we keep from slipping into improper use?