I have seen quite an evolution in the way I study, work, consume information and interact over the years. I belonged to that generation that used typewriters to write term papers, then slowly progressed to WordStar and WordPerfect. I had a blue pager stuck to my waist band in college, and all I could do on my first cell phone was make voice calls. As a kid, our library at home had a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica from the 1970s (which never really got updated), and subscriptions to the National Geographic and Time magazines. It took a letter from my grandmother two months to arrive, and their barrio did not have access to phone lines, so I rarely got a chance to have a relationship with her growing up.
These memories came back as I went through the various readings this week. I could not help but appreciate how far we have come and how technology has changed the way we live. Despite the commentaries about how our current ways may lead to diminished meaningful interaction, I would have to say that my experience has been the opposite. The way I have used technology has made living on the other side of the world, away from family and loved ones, bearable, and allowed me to continue to engage in meaningful interactions with people I hold dear but could not physically be with. I cannot imagine not having FaceTime or Skype and not being able to talk to my family in the Philippines as often as I can for next to nothing through the internet; I would probably survive, but painfully so.
I have to admit, though, that despite the advantages and conveniences that are available through technology, I can still be pretty old school. I still like reading on paper and making handwritten notes (so I still print all my course readings); I resonated a lot with what Clive Thompson shared about physicist Richard Feynman – putting my thoughts and ideas on paper is my thinking process too. There is a lot to be gained with the vast amount of resources that innovation has made available to us, but how we process that information is still very much a human, cognitive exercise.
My personal preferences and experiences is probably why my favorite lines in all the readings are these lines from Clive Thompson’s piece: “Which is smarter at chess – humans or computers? Neither. It’s the two together, working side by side.” To me, this is very true, and is exactly how I prefer to use not just computers but all the conveniences and technologies that are available to us right now. In a very real way, I see and live Jason Farman’s point that there are “significant ways in which our mobile devices are actually fostering a deeper sense of connection to people and places.” There will always be pros and cons to anything and everything, and it is the way we choose to leverage what emerging technologies have to offer that ultimately makes a difference. If you will it so, technology will work for you and with you.
I completely agree. Most things in life aren’t good or bad for you; they just need to be balanced. We don’t have to eliminate technology and the Internet from the classroom or our lives. Both these things enrich our experiences and supplement our learning as long as we use them healthily.
Thank you for sharing! I like the picture of your though process by the way, it seems very organized! I completely agree with what you’re saying that there is a level of responsibility in how we choose to engage with technology and use it to our advantage instead of our detriment.
Thank you for your post. You have underlined some nice points that led me thinking: I also like the idea that technology helps us to connect with our loved ones more easily. On the other hand, the competition through which this very technology was born set the stage for our departure from our homes in the first place. Nevertheless, it is not something we can reverse. All we have left with is our creativity.