Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Technology--What's its Role?

This week I have been in an online conference, and I have loved the new information that we learn each year about technology and where it's headed. Of course, all of this information is used to enhance our understanding of programs, platforms, and products that our students are readily familiar with, which in turn will help us integrate technology more easily into the learning process. "Brick and Mortar," or "Face to Face" (f2f) classrooms (as we call them) are way behind the technology game, but I have high hopes that my two worlds between online teaching and f2f teaching will soon collide.

Here are some things I learned, or we talked about, and thought I'd pass some of them along.

First, Twitter was the big rage this year. Our main speaker, and following panels and sessions, often brought up Twitter and its power as a social network. I really love Twitter and how it keeps me connected. Many other book bloggers and publishers are on Twitter, not to mention the authors and news organizations that Twitter messages from time to time (or more often). (To follow me on Twitter, you can find me at @mjmbecky.)

Another platform was introduced, called Google Chrome, and it was suggested that it is another browser that is matching Mozilla in speed and safety. Since it was only brought up as a list of technologies & platforms, I still need to check it out to figure out its impact on what I do day in and day out. There was also some talk about a cool new, controllers-free, technology for gaming that could cross over into other uses, known as Project Natal. There are some really great videos out to demonstrate how it will be used, although I have to say it looks funny to see people playing games without controls, and just their hands in the air!

There were a million other sites they showed us, technologies, and platforms, but these were just the new ones that stood out to me for now. As for actual technology, they did talk about things such as the Kindle, which I can thankfully attest to being amazing! They also showed us Netbooks, which are condensed, mini laptops with a lot more battery power, and all of the capabilities of a normal laptop, minus the giant screen and room for lots of programs or gaming. For what I do online, I'm now dreaming! They're not very expensive (between $200 to $700), so it might be my next "laptop" purchase!

My last dream now is the iPhone. It's not that I wasn't interested before, but when you already have a cell phone & plan, it seems almost useless to even look, since you couldn't buy! Today they talked about the great platforms, speed, and ease of use in the iPhone, and how far ahead of the game this little smartphone really stands. I am coming due for a new phone, so while I might be behind the times with this trend, I'm pretty sold on it now!

So here's my question. In light of all the great technology, programs, and platforms I learn about, I always think about how they change the way I live my life day to day. I know they impact my online teaching to some degree, but what about you? How does technology change or influence your life? Do you feel comfortable with it? Do you like trying out new technologies? I'm probably asking the wrong crowd (since you're online to begin with), but I'm curious, how does technology affect your life? Do you feel technology takes you away too much time from the rest of your life or the reading that you want/need to do?


  1. I think technology is definitely addictive. Especially twitter. I started twittering in my dreams 3 days after I signed up for an account; then I knew I was in trouble! ;) Seriously, though, it does seem to feed on itself--like the more time you spend online the more time you want to spend there. And it definitely takes away from my reading time. It is fun, but I sometimes I think I need to slow down with it or go cold turkey for a few weeks.

  2. I agree with Heidenkind. I already spend probably too much time on line and I'm afraid twitter would only increase that. With your growing wish list, the conference may end up being more expensive than you thought!

  3. Twitter has become a really important way for people to exchange information...Look at what is happening in Iran right now...we wouldn't know half of what is going on if Twitter wasn't available for people to use. The only sad thing about technology is that by the time it gets into the classroom it's old...and our students know how to use it way better than we do!!!

  4. I have an old school phone. Meaning that I'm not on the web when I'm not home. Sometimes I love it. Because I LOVE being unplugged when it's important to spend time out with my family. Other times I'd love to be able to plug in (like when we are lost!). I think it's important to find a balance. And to tell you the truth, I don't have it right now!

  5. Thanks all! I love hearing what others think about the role of technology. It sounds like we love and hate it for the same reasons, the time it saves and wastes. I still haven't decided whether I want an iPhone or Blackberry! :)

  6. I always seem to be the last to know about technology--hey, I just joined twitter on Friday! :)

    But I do love my iphone. I've had it for almost two years and I probably don't get as much out of it as others do, but love love love it.