For What Reason Was I Born Into the Digital Age?
Lately, I can’t help but notice how incredibly organized my friends are, and how I am so not. They get up, walk the dog, pack lunch, take out the trash, and water the lawn before I am even out of bed. The amazing thing is, I have been up since 3:30-4. I usually get up, fix coffee, and turn on the computer. By 8AM, I am already panicked about paying bills, global warming, and losing everything to the IRS. I drink another cup of coffee, and go back to bed.
It’s all about balance and levels of neurosis. Much of the time I am snagged by some technological glitch. This is an occupational hazard that did not exist a generation ago. Certainly, we did not have access to “how stuff works” (love that site BTW). In order to GOOGLE something, you need to know what question to ask, and who or what you are talking to on the other end. Whenever possible, I go for the experts, and I tend to like the sites where humor is involved, because I need a reality check to lighten the gravity of the situation. No one will die, starve, or go to jail (actually this could happen), if I do not figure it out. I can easily shut down with a bad case of terminal frustration. And I do. So while my friends are off to work, I am exhausted by the reality that I may be enlightened, but my bills are not paid and the laundry is piling up.
I wasn’t always a recreational geek. As a teacher, I was a pioneer and a warrior for technology in the classroom. Needless to say, it did not take the form that administrators had in mind. Most people do not realize that effective teaching is a form of organized chaos. I always stumbled through technological glitches before, during, and after class. My students could share some hilarious stories. Life is one big experiment. Scientific method can always loop back to the start over button, which is good, but you still only have 40 minutes to jam in the lesson and activities. Now, thankfully, that can change. Most schools are not taking advantage of the possibilities that are out there and FREE. If you believe that throwing more money (because we need bigger and better technology) is the answer, think again. It boils down to freedom of choice, and the concept that the role of the adult is to filter and spit out the relevant information. This is so stifling and limits the learning potential of all students. My hero rebel teachers are the ones who ignore the headphone wires running up through a hole in the pocket of the hoodie. They make time to explore internet resources and figure out how to outsmart the server filters. My favorite was adulteducation. That really set off the alarms. We had to come up with clever synonyms like adultlearners (same thing), GEDprep, alternativestoenduringhighschool, and unschool. Currently my teaching platform consists of an iphone, an ipad, and my old laptop which was “gifted” to the teacher after 4 years. BTW, that grant no longer exists. Currently, teachers are issued a desktop computer connected to the intranet. Here’s a tip: wireless devices can be configured so they bypass the server filters.