Autobiography of a Tech User and Creator
I fondly remember the TI 99 I played with as a child. Look at the sleek silver and black styling of that bad boy. A little research indicates that it originally came out in 1981 we did not get until probably the mid 1980’s. That only things I honestly remember about the system is that TI Invaders and Tron were kick ass games. Through the years I played with the changing hardware from the 486 to the Pentium III. On all these systems the software and internet was changing rapidly. This came home for me in a recent argument I was having with a cousin of mine. We were arguing about with one of us had originally come up with the email moniker roop151, which we both had used on different servers. I proclaimed that I had the email address since the early 80’s. He responded that I would not of even have had an email account back then and he proclaimed victory in the argument. I thought to myself that we were probably the last generation that can say they braved life before email. That thought led me to remember the temperamental cassette player in my first truck. Oh the horror. At the early stages of email I could not have possibly imagined how technology would permeate into all aspects of life and fundamentally change the way people interact with each other.
My father was an early supporter of technologies use in his children’s education from our first electronic type writer to computers equipped with Encyclopedia Britannica for school reports. In the early days this technologies reliability was precarious at best. With no one in the house tech savvy the hardware was on the fritz more than it was functional. This made the excuse of technical difficulties causing late assignments to be a more believable that it is today. Time marched on the unforgettable sound of the dial up internet connection and AOL. We learned the hard way about email hacking, bandwidth and the necessity for password protecting things. In what is still now a story puts me in stitches, I can home to hearing my brother yelling on the phone with our internet provider, who had temporarily suspended our service, we are not selling penis enlargement pills and apparatus out of our house!!!!
Today technology is prevalent in daily life. Since I have not been teaching over the past few years, it has been mostly used for enjoyment. I have barely tapped the potential of my android smart phone. I use it to game, watch YouTube, as a daily organizer, to settle bar bets via Google, to access my fantasy football league, and to take pictures. Quite a bit of tasks accomplished but my wife tells me that phone has many more applications for me to discover. The future seemed to be now when I watched my wife pay for our Starbucks with her I phone. Apparently you can load prepaid cards on your phone and pay via an on screen bar code. The same process works at the movies as well. From the movies to buying Seahawks tickets from Stubhub.com, books on Amazon and songs, books, or movies from iTunes technology has certainly barged its way into many forms of entertainment.
The tech revolution has not impacted my reading and literacy to the degree it has in other areas. I love to have a book in my hands while I’m reading and I want the trophy upon completion. I have fought the urge to purchase an Ereader, despite knowing that is the future of literature. I have already seen the benefit of the ebook. There can be links to outside materials, imbedded video and audio clips. There was an ebook I saw that was about the history of broadcast news in America. That seemed very interesting and promised many historical moments recanted in video. All things being equal, I still like having a book in my grubby fingers, having creative book marks and messing up the margins with notes. Where technology undoubtedly helped is in research for papers or the preparation of classroom materials. Search engines like EBSCO do make it quicker to access a greater scope of research materials.
During my Bachelors of Education at UBC and during my practicum I dabbled in some technical teaching and learning. At school we produced a Word Press blog and created the outline for a course proposal for media literacy. During my practicum I used Glogster to create online poster projects for ‘Lord of the Flies’ and ‘In the Heat of the Night’. Glogster allowed students to find artifacts that aided there online poster. They were able to post music, images and videos that corresponded to their overall theme. I also look forward to introducing Wikis and many other web 2.0 tools in my teaching.
Technology has definitely been changing at warp (sorry) speeds while I grew up. I am excited to see the learning and teaching possibilities tech will provide us in the future. The little video I posted was taken by my galaxy III of my old Vectrex arcade system. It represents the book ends of my tech autobiography to this point of my life.