The Joy of Technologymelindahill | October 4, 2011
I just returned from the beautiful state of New Mexico where the air was dry and the temperature was warm, a wonderful break from our current Ohio weather. The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences gathered to share current trends, curriculums and materials that might be useful to others in Extension across the nation. I love to travel as I always enjoy the differences in the communities and cultures and in the process I learn more about myself. This trip was no exception. I learned many things, but the one that I’m going to focus on, is that there’s a name for those like me who have learned to adapt technology, digital immigrant. A digital immigrant is defined by Wikipedia as “an individual who was born before the existence of digital technology and adopted it to some extent later in life.” I’m guessing that some of you reading this can relate. This is different from a digital native who “is a person who was born during or after the general introduction of digital technology, and through interacting with digital technology from an early age, has a greater understanding of its concepts.”
I recently observed a four year old who, with a tablet, colored beautiful pictures with the stroke of a finger. Her brother with a smart phone used apps to locate a particular book and their parents coordinating calendars on their phones. Technology is here to stay and it can serve us well if we understand the basic concepts. During one of the conference presentations, Barbara Chamberlain shared a few basic thoughts that cause me to reflect on why and how to use technology. Here’s what I took away from her inspirational message, as you read through them, see what you think.
*If the technology doesn’t do it better, don’t use it. Don’t let it take the place of people or nature, just enhance what you experience.
*It’s not about the technology, it’s communicating in a different way to strengthen relationships and knowledge.
*Technology does change things, look for the benefits. It offers a way to learn things when I want to and when I have time to or when the questions arise.
*It makes learning fun—games, interaction with others and keeping in touch with people that we can’t see on a regular basis.
*Use technology as a learning experience…it customizes things I want to know and engages me to something I usually don’t have access to.
Whether you are a digital native or an immigrant like me, there is a whole world to explore in ways that we couldn’t do before. Look at the positive possibilities and see what fits into your life at the moment that enhances what you dream of or just simply can make the details in your life simpler. Try something new with technology today!
Melinda Hill, FCS Educator, Wayne County