I am 54 years old and consider myself fairly tech savvy for an “old guy” and many of my contemporaries or students would agree with that assessment.
At the same time I have a feeling that today’s technology is starting to pass me by. I am of the laptop/desktop generation and haven’t embraced using my smart phone (iPhone) or a tablet to do many of the things that I currently do on my laptop (which they can). I choose to continue to enter data with a keyboard instead of using voice, touch or thumb typing. I don’t own a tablet (iPad or other) and I have chosen to not learn more than the basics of Facebook beyond how to maintain my privacy settings at the level I want, because I am not crazy about how certain parts of it works and how it is “controlled”; even though it is an extremely important way to communicate and keep in contact with others in today’s world.
I am not an early adopter of new and wonderful software/hardware, I usually wait until the furor has died down and then go out and get the 2nd or 3rd generation (if it lasts that long). I don’t use Prezi to make presentations (which by the way isn’t that new anymore), I don’t go to Diigo all that often, I haven’t quite caught on to Quora or so many of the other newer “things” that are are popular in today’s Web2.0 world.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love to learn new things that are pertinent to my life inside of and outside of teaching, but for me to continue to use a piece of technology either software or hardware, there has to be more than the “cool” or “new” factor involved. The new tool has to be significantly better than, or does something that my existing tools don’t do, for me to either buy it or take the time to learn how to use something, beyond the initial look and see what it does trial.
However, it seems that I have come to a cross roads in my life when it comes to technology. While I am fairly comfortable with my current level of “techiness, (if that is actually a word), but I question whether I am going to keep up with the mobile revolution or the tablet tsunami that has begun. It comes down to this question: “do these things do what they do better for me than my laptop”?
In most cases they do not. The smart phones and tablets might say that there is an app for that, but at what point, do you need or can you use all of those apps that are so readily available? I know “it is all about choice and what works for you”, but how many apps, does the average user actually use? 10, 20 and the rest just take up space on their device for that just in case time you will use it – like the extra software on my laptop that just sits there and takes up space.
In today’s world it is too easy to become overwhelmed with all the technology and new hardware, software or application choices that are available to us and not use them effectively, just to say that we are using technology in or out of the classroom. At what point does technology become too much of a good thing?
As a result of that feeling of being overwhelmed, I have purposely simplified my life a great deal over the past year and while I still love learning about new technology and finding new tools/apps that will work for me (Thank you Rich for all of your great resources over at Free Tech for Teachers), I am going to be very particular about which tools actually get into my technology/teaching tool box in the future.
So am I going to let technology pass me by a bit? If I am saying these words, I have a feeling that it already has.