St. Ignatius and the Blackberry: What can Jesuit Education Tell us About Teaching Information Systems in a Connected World?
Martha Grabowski, Dan Orne, J. Christopher Zimmer, David McCallum, S.J., Shinjeng Lin, Dennis O’Connor, Renee Downey Hart
July 1, 2012
Information Systems, Technology, Jesuit, Business, Higher Education
Journal of Jesuit Business Education (JJBE)
William Powers, in his book Hamlet’s Blackberry (2010), makes the point that many in the developed and developing world live in an interconnected space: there are few moments when we are not talking, texting, downloading, surfing, lurking, liking, disliking, friending, de-friending, tweeting, calling or emailing, and the pace at which we are connecting with each other is unrelenting and accelerating. Powers argues for a slower pace and a technology Sabbath, a time when people voluntarily disconnect from the multitude of screens that pervade their lives. Most importantly, he argues for a consciousness in our efforts and decisions to connect or to be ‘tapped,’ and for periods when we disconnect so that we might be more fully open to the possibilities offered by the present. This plea for thoughtful connectedness rings true with themes in Jesuit higher education, and provides an opportunity for scholars to weigh in on the role and importance of Jesuit higher education in a technologically- pressed world. We continue the thread of that discussion in this essay, and consider the connections between the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP) (Kolvenbach, 1993; 2005) and the study of information systems (IS). En route, we consider two questions: would Ignatius have a Blackberry, an iPad or another ‘smart’ technology? And if so, how would he use them and other contemporary technologies?