Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tech Savviness Pays Off!

Think back to when you were in school, regardless of how long ago it was.  Think about the technology that you had available to you at the time.  Think about how well you knew how to use the tech as it came out.  Also, think about how well your parents, your friends, your teachers, so on and so forth, think about how well they knew how to use the technology.

I graduated high school in 2000.  At the time, the Internet, at least in widespread use, had only been around for a couple of years.  I can remember going to my neighbor Jessica's house to hang out and she had dial-up Internet.  She and I would spend hours looking up music and song lyrics and sports related stuff.  While hours sounds like we were productive or at least got to see a lot of stuff, for those of you that remember dial-up, there was more "hurry up and wait" than there was anything.  It took FOREVER to download the simplest of pictures or documents, things that today are almost instantaneous.  My school had a really slow network as well that would take 20 minutes to load up one webpage, and filters were really hit and miss (anyone else ever make the mistake of going to www.whitehouse.com when researching presidents?).  Eventually, cable Internet and wireless made its way into our world, and now very few of us go anywhere without an Internet capable device like a smartphone or tablet.

One of my frustrations at the time was that I felt that I was learning the technology quite well as it came out, but I wasn't an expert.  That's when I turned to my teachers for help.  However, very few of my teachers could give me the help that I needed when it came to the tech stuff.  It is still an issue today.  Too many educators are not tech savvy, for a variety of reasons, ranging from lack of training, lack of funding, or flat out not caring to learn the tech (which is the most frustrating to me).  However, the events of the past few days make me feel accomplished and ahead of my peers in this department.

Earlier this week, my school's librarian came to me with a laptop cart.  The laptops are probably 10 years old.  They still have switches on the side to toggle on the WiFi.  She informed me that the operating systems of laptops and all data had been wiped from them and replaced with Chrome OS.  Now, these computers that look like they are on their last legs are lightning-quick and get the job done for what I use them for in my classroom.  I couldn't be happier that FINALLY, I am almost 1:1 in my classroom with technology.  I survived before, but this makes things SOOOOOO much easier.  But what really makes me feel good is that as students have been coming to me with various questions, I can actually answer them and help them to address the issues that they are having with the tech.  Some of it is as simple as setting up the proxy settings on the laptops, others are helping them find shortcuts to be more productive.  Regardless, I am able to help them, something so many of my teachers growing up and my peers today cannot do.

We live in a digital world, and that is not going to go away.  You can get on the train, find your seat, and order a drink, or you can oversleep and miss it and be left behind.  If you are reading this, you most likely are on the train with me.  If not, I encourage you to stop hitting the snooze button and come to the station.  People like I will help you to find your seat on the train and get your to your destination as worry free as possible.  I hope you are ready!

And speaking of ready, be safe on your winter breaks, enjoy your time off with your family and enjoy The Force Awakens.

Until next time...