Friday, May 1, 2015

Technologically Ept?

In February of 2011, I was searching for a new laptop, and decided to go to the dark side and invest in a Macbook Pro.  This was quite a challenge for me, initially, as I have been PC friendly for as long as I've had computers, and my computer at school was also a PC.  The simplest tasks - like closing or minimizing a window - was suddenly no longer an automatic response.  Closing windows with a red dot on the left, instead of a red x on the right, soon proved to be nothing, compared to some of the other challenges I found on the steep learning curve of Apple.

I have to admit, I spent much of that spring using my school computer at home, simply because I didn't want to have to think about what I was doing online, after a long day in the classroom.  When I headed off to UCONN that summer, I intentionally left the PC at home, along with pens, pencils and notebooks, and challenged myself to complete my entire master's degree, paper free.

It was my own version of a "full immersion" program, and I was as foreign to the world of technology as the Spanish I student heading to Barcelona.

Aside from some side-scribbling on some scratch paper during Research Statistics, I achieved my goal.  Every note, every lecture, every paper, every assignment, now exists on the hard drive of the Macbook, and are also backed up on an external hard drive.

Technological Ept-ness?

I guess it could be argued that my B+ in Research Statistics has a direct correlation to my use of paper,  ultimately blowing my 4.0 average.  I'm not sure that I'm the one to begin to argue that point. however!  The reality is, I can type faster than I can write, thanks to my mother's insistence that I learn how to type before even electric typewriters were in my life.  And a fair number of my friends, and some of my students, argue that they actually retain more learning and studying after having patterned their notes on paper.

Yesterday, Rocketbook appeared in my newsfeed on Facebook.  Immediately, the lovers of handwritten notes began commenting, and even though I have proven to myself that I don't need paper notes any longer, I was more than a little intrigued by a notebook that would sort and save notes to the cloud, and erase entirely after 30 seconds in the microwave.  (Really!  Check out the video!)  Today I wrote a grant for more robots -- which, quite frankly, my first graders navigate with greater proficiency than I.  I also attempted to use Audacity to record a phone interview.  While I successfully recorded the conversation, I really have no clue what the buttons and symbols are on my screen, let alone the "clean up" features offered.

I've always been a trial and error girl, though, and rarely read the directions before I delve into the unknown.  Sometimes this leads to frustration, sometimes it leads to confusion.

And almost all the time it leads to a discussion with someone more knowledgeable than I who is able to explain my shortcomings in real words, to help me on my way.

I'm not a digital native, but I don't run when I hear the drums.  I face them, and know just enough to be dangerous.  I may not have figured out itunes, but I've finally figured out a way to remember my password.  

This will come as fabulous news to my daughter, and resident itunes expert, who feels like she's in that scene from City Slickers where they're programming the VCR.

Happy Weekend!