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I love technology, especially the internet. I started my own company a little over a year ago and my main means of communicating with clients is via email and Skype. I also use Elance, oDesk, and Guru to seek new clients.
One aspect of technology that has been bothersome to me is the cell phone, specifically the BlackBerry. I was literally a slave to that thing, and my monthly bills were enormous as well, even with a plan that supposedly would accommodate my needs.
Last month, I canceled my contract with Verizon and went "cell free." If I were to be in an accident, I can still access 911 on the BlackBerry (federal law that all cell phones must call 911, even if they have no plan attached, which is why they can be donated to domestic violence programs). However, all of my phone calls can now be routed to Skype voice mail and I can return them at my leisure. I can send out texts (but not receive them), and email is free. Viva la revolution!
Technolgy is overated--at least that's what I say as I'm sitting here at my computer in my air-conditioned house with the dishwasher running. And if I needed a serious medical procedure, I would be quite thankful for all the modern technology available to me.
On another level, though, technology has made us lazy and disconnected--despite the fact that we can "converse" with people halfway across the world. We often talk but say little, have "friends" whom we barely know, and replace real conversation with 160-character sound bytes.
So I guess I'd characterize my feelings and experiences with technology as a love-hate relationship, at best.
Technol;ogy, especially how I use it in the classroom, has made my life much easier in several ways. When I first started teaching I had filmstrips and movies played on a reel to reel projector, which really limited the information I could provide students, particularly in a visual way. It has also allowed my to communicate better with parents. When I first started teaching, the only way to communicate with parents was a phone call. Now with computers and the internet, parents can find out how their student is doing by calling me, texting me, emailing me, or going to my website to check their students' progress.
I find that I tend to get too "plugged in" at times. I spend too much time on the internet or studying or buying the latest gadgetry, and really it doesn't make my life all that much simpler. I need to take more breaks from social networking, texting and even this site just to go enjoy my summer and relax. Technology in my classroom has made teaching easier and more convenient, the lesson planning stronger with more materials, but if it malfunctions I'm toast.
I think that the impersonal nature and convenience of the Internet has caused many (students and adults) to lose sight of truth and integrity. I have known many who have been personally affected, for example, by Facebook - and the consequences of someone seeing something and taking offense. Often the defense is that it was not meant to be offensive or the objectional material was not to be seen by the offended party - but the consequences often remain the same: termination from or loss of employment opportunity within certain private companies, loss of a position within a profession or professional group (such as a school board), public apologies, public resignations, loss of reputation, etc. All of this because something that has become so easy and casual has ceased in many minds, almost, to be real.
Our society is now realizing the concerns of Aldous Huxley in his foreword to Brave New World in which he writes of the advancement of science and technology as it affects human beings. Certainly, technology has enabled us in many, many ways (goodbye to those irritating carburetors!), affording people in remote areas the conveniences of those in urban. for one thing.
In addition, there has been effected a simplication and corruption of the English language in e-mails and text messages, there has been a tendency to believe that what is in print on the internet is the truth (much of this is written in simplified language), there has been a weakening in people's social skills, there has been a lessening in physical activity--among many other things.
In the educational field, so many students seem to feel that they can simply find what they need for a writing assignment via the internet; it is now the "be-all and end-all." To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, their ideas are other people's ideas, their thoughts a mere quotation. There was always something about searching through journals and books in the library; one almost always came upon something else that was worthy in this search. When one looks up a word in a regular dictionary, for instance, he/she may happen upon other new words; but, using the dictionary on one's computer limits.
In my opinion, the use of technology has both positive and negative consequences.
For example, the use of computers and the internet has made my life much easier. It is very easy to communicate with other people using a computer. In addition, classes can be taken on the internet right from the comfort of my own home. I also use the internet to make purchases.
There are also some negative effects of using technology. Using computers and the internet to communicate takes away from communicating with people face to face. I wonder what this is doing to communication skills. In addition, people sometimes develop addictions to things like online gambling because of its convenience.
Today humans cannot exist without technology. The shirt I wear is result of technology. When I strike a match to light a candle I use a technology. And of course when I light a candle, I use technology. The hospital care involved when we are born is an intensive use of technology. And when we die, the spade used to dig our graves is also a product of technology.
Technology is not just the highly automated and sophisticated machines we use in manufacturing plants, and in space crafts. The simple club made by humans more then 50.000 years back is also technology. Humans today are so dependent on technology that perhaps most of will not be able to spend even one day without using the technology in some way or the other.
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