What do a Personal Assistant, a teacher, a lecturer and employee of the Department of defence have in common? We all live in different countries and time zones, but we are working together to moderate a Twitterchat for a MOOC that is being taken by 40,000 people from around the world. Technology allows us to do many amazing things these days and brings the world to you.
I remember the days when the only way I could stay in touch with my family in Germany was to write (although not often when I was a teenager) or call (restricted by finances). Now I can connect with friends and contacts from around the world instantly (unless the time zone means they are asleep), for free (not including the cost of broadband), frequently and at my convenience.
It does make me think how we managed before. As a teenager I would often meet friends in town to go shopping. If one of us was late or unable to come we had no way of informing each other at short notice. The others, waiting at the meeting point, would just wait an acceptable amount of time and leave. i couldn’t imagine not being able to let someone know about a last minute change of plans. Makes me a bit twitchy to be honest!
Are we slaves to technology or is technology our slave? I think it’s all dependent on us. If we manage technology and know when to switch off, and not use it for the sake of it, technology is utophic. If you don’t manage it properly dystopia will ensue.
Remember there is a real world out there to explore so make sure you step out once in a while (and don’t forget to Tweet about it, add photos of the outing to Facebook and blog about it when you get back!)
Following on from my post yesterday I observed something in a meeting today which adds to the idea of technology being a vital and positive thing and helps to improve our lives. As we sat round the table most of us (99%) were using an iPad, smart phone or laptop.
We were able to use the devices to access information that would have had to wait in previous years. If someone referenced something but was unclear or had forgotten what had been written, the document in question could be accessed immediately. In the ‘olden days’ you would have had to leave the meeting to find the document or leave the discussion and return to it at a later date.
We were also informed of transport delays, via Twitter, which affected one of the attendees. I was able to finalise arrangements for a meeting tomorrow which couldn’t have waited until the next day. There are times where I feel that technology enslaves us (always being accessible and us always responding) but there are times where it frees us.
Utopia or dystopia? It depends on the user and how they utilise and respond to technology.
We have now started our EDCMOOC course and began by looking at short films where utopia/dystopia are the themes.
This is a relevant question for me this week as we without broadband for a while until I caved in and paid to top up my iPad. The thought, and practicalities, of being without broadband was unthinkable. I needed to be able to work from home, set up things for this course, communicate with fellow students and friends. It also made me feel like I was missing out eg not having access to ‘breaking news’.
I used to despair of people who were like this and thought they were sad. And now I am one!
However, is it such a bad thing? I am staying in touch with friends, learning, working, reading, watching tv, discovering and much more. And obviously I still have enough of a sense of reality to know that world peace, having food and shelter and my health are more important than access to the Internet and technology. But whilst everything else is well in my life why not make technology one of my priorities.
It also reminds me of the Southpark episode where the Internet goes off and everyone migrates in the search for broadband. Similar to when people migrated for work during the depression. Brilliant episode with many home truths.
Anyway, I love technology and won’t worry about it so long I maintain my sense of perspective and outside interests.
Since starting EDCMOOC I have started blogging but I find it difficult. Especially when I read others which are are so well produced. I would normally have given up at this point but because of the course I feel I should persevere. Already EDCMOOC is already having an effect in that I am pushing myself to try something new, which I guess is part of what learning is about.
We will start quadblogging from this afternoon and I hope this will help and inspire me.
The EDCMOOC course hasn’t even started yet and already I have connected with people, looked at new things and even been brushing up on my German language. Some of us German speakers have started a EDCMOOC German speakers Facebook group. I should be reading German everyday so I don’t lose the skill but always find I am too lazy to do so. However, posting and chatting with German speakers on Facebook doesn’t feel so laborious. Another example of social networking being a good thing.
Here’s to more learning, connections, inspirations, fun and adventures!
I have signed up for about 10 coursera courses. I seem to have become addicted to learning which may have coincided with my new (ish) job at an academy.
I also think that learning and education is sometimes better done as an adult. I did enjoy learning when I was a child but I had zero confidence and gave up as soon as I thought I would fail something. Hence my education is based on lots of half finished subjects. I did finish my a levels and my degree but along the way I started lots of courses which were soon dropped.
As an adult I can really appreciate education and am grateful for the chance to take free, well run courses i can fit in around work. I am being given a chance to study things I would never consider (greek mythology, animal behaviour and intro to european law) as well as things I wish I had paid better attention to at school (planet earth and Ancient Greece).
Here’s to my second course and second chance at education.