My Love-Hate Relationship With Technology

I have a very ambivalent relationship with technology. By day, I am part of an instructional design team, charged with putting courses online and keeping up with the latest and greatest in educational technology. Our conversations at work are filled with talk of mobile technologies and e-learning platforms and courseware.  We design websites and create multimedia presentations. We get excited about css and javascript and html 5. We debate the educational value of wikis and blogs and podcasts. We discuss the advantages of Mathjax over ASCII math. We stream videos. We create slideshows and interactive exericses. We try out new computer programs and technologies. We troubleshoot.

In some ways, I have a perfect job, because it brings together so many things that I love. When I first graduated from college and was wondering what to do with my life, I took one of those tests they like to give at career centers that tells you what jobs match your interests, and I was told that I should either be a psychologist, a librarian, or a computer programmer.  I thought they all sounded interesting but never dreamed I might find a way to bring all those things together.

There was no such thing as instructional designers at the time, but it suits me perfectly to  spend my career exploring connections between people and technology and content. And I love learning new things, whether that means the content of the courses we are developing or the technology used to put them online. I had thought at one time about following in my family’s footsteps and going into teaching, but this is much better, because I don’t have to stand in front of a classroom, which always just made me nervous.

Still,  as much as I enjoy my work and being on the cutting edge of educational technology, when it comes to technology in general, I am nowhere near being an “early adopter.” I’m not anti-technology. I just don’t love it for itself. I don’t have an iPad or a Kindle or a smartphone. My desktop computer is several years old. I’ve been told by real techies that my Netbook (which I love) is on the way out, and  I only recently upgraded from dial-up to DSL. Although I do have an iPod (which my son bought for me at a yard sale and which I have been enjoying a lot), we  also still have a turntable and cassette player that we  listen to music on.

Of course I do my fair share of web surfing and checking Facebook and watching YouTube videos and talking on my cell phone, but I prefer to spend my time doing low-tech things such as knitting or spinning, reading real books, working with the bees, or digging in the garden. My idea of a perfect evening is one just like tonight, where friends come over to my house and we sit around the living room playing old-time music together.

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