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Over the past couple of years, I have been using “Web2.0 technology and it has changed how I and many others process and acquire information. We use computers, smart phones, tablet and other devices to stay connected to the Internet. A lot of people worry that we are too connected and that it has become a different reality than people have had in the past. And it is.
I can talk to someone from Australia, China, England or California via Twitter, Skype or other forms of today’s technology. We can read the local papers of those Countries (using one of the translate programs), to find out what they are actually saying there not the edited versions that we used to receive.
The old information strangle-holds are not able to keep up with the proliferations of new ways for common citizens to talk with each other on a world wide web. So what does it mean to me:
- I don’t buy the paper except for Sunday mornings
- I don’t buy magazines to read
- Very seldom do I sit to watch the news on TVor even TV shows (ESPN is about the only one),
- The only time I listen to the radio is to and from work,
- About half of the books I read for pleasure are in a digital format
- I read blogs on various topics from around the globe
- I participate in online discussions via Twitter that has educators from around the world participating
- I can attend conferences virtually to get more and often better professional development
- No longer do I have to worry about which computer am I on, because about 70% of my work is now done in the “cloud”
- Games are available to play and I can go into online worlds World of WarCraft, Second Life etc., if I get bored with just working or reading online
These are just a parts of my digital life and I do it from the comfort of my home. I am not out and about every night attempting to find or do these things. Most of them I could not do if I did not have access to what we have come to call the Internet.
Over the course of the last couple of years I come to expect to have information delivered to me by way of Twitter, my iGoogle start page, YouTube, Google Reader, from an email subscription or in my Apple RSS feed. Simply stated, instead of me having to go and find new information or news, I expect it to come to me. Research is a different story but with search engines like Google, Bing and the rest; finding stuff is easy, sorting what is useful or accurate has become the issue.
This seems to concern and/or surprise many people that I am going so far into the digital information age so easily and quickly. I am supposedly too old to be comfortable with this digital lifestyle according to the “experts” or those who want to use stereotypes.
I may not be a “Digital Native”, but I have grown old using computers since they became Personal Computers and think I have a pretty good idea of how to use them effectively and much of the time I believe that I am a lot more comfortable with them than many so-called digital natives.
So stereotyping that goes on for many of us older digital immigrants is rather inaccurate.
I have made getting and using information digitally an integral part of my life not an add-on. For me it is just easier to process the vast amounts of information available in today’s world by doing it digitally. Does this mean I do not have a life beyond my computer, no. I still have a wife and family, I have a great job as a teacher, I am starting to workout again and have the honey-doo lists just like everyone else to complete.
I believe that the digital lifestyle allows me to get more done and be more knowledgeable about a wider range of subject than I would have been in another era. But I do monitor how much and what I do online to avoid the trap of information/digital overload, I just think it is best practice.
Now that I am starting to integrate the digital “lifestyle into my teaching, not just use tech as a “neat thing” and I can’t wait to see where that leads me. I guess it goes back to what I told my students during the first couple of days of school: “I am a geek and I love teaching and using computers.”
Strange how the world turns isn’t it, in the past when I was called a geek or a nerd it was used as an negative term and I used to bristle about it, now I call myself one.
“There is no try, only do.” – Yoda