Technology. What does this word mean to you? This word has different significance to each person you ask. Those from older generations view technology quite differently than those in younger generations. This may be because of our exposures to technology and our experiences with it. OpenLearn.com states that “Technology is not a neutral word. Different people will give it different meaning depending on their viewpoint and context”.
This week, our class discussions made me realize how much technology has changed throughout my life time. I was born in the late 90s, and technology has always been a part of my life growing up. I remember growing up watching VHS tapes and using a landline at home. These were exciting technologies in my earliest memories. As I grew older, DVDs, cellphones, and camcorders became more popular. I made it through most of elementary school without my classmates having cell phones. There was little technology used in my classes, other than using laptops for a few research projects. When I was in high school, technology was present in my every day life. Teachers used technology to help with instruction (PowerPoints, SmartBoards, Tablets, etc.). This was also the age when I got my first cell phone and laptop. Today, I use technology on a daily basis. It is hard to picture a part of my daily routine that does not use technology. I have found myself looking forwards to moments when I am able to “disconnect” or log off of technology for a period of time.
When looking at my life compared to younger generations, I do see the impacts of technology in their lives. I am thankful that I was able to experience a childhood without the pressures of technology and social media. Today, children are gaining access to all types of technology at a very young age. I have seen how social media affects self esteem, and I have seen children become dependent on their devices. With this dependence on technology, some also say that children may be missing out on “real life” experiences if they are constantly focused on a screen. This is quite different from my childhood experience.
As discussed in the Michael Wesch’s video “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube”, YouTube is one of the main platforms for creators to upload video content. This video was super interesting to watch, and I found it especially interesting to hear all of the statistics of how many hours of content is present on YouTube. Because this video was created in 2008, I am sure that the statistics have continued to rise over the years as YouTube becomes more and more popular. Today, Youtube is still a powerful platform. Wesch’s video also explores how quickly trends are able to be spread through videos on YouTube. This is reflected on many social media platforms today with creators “going viral”. Platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Tik Tok make it easy for content to go viral in a matter of days or even hours. There are both positive and negative consequences of information being able to be spread this quickly.
While exploring how technology has changed throughout the years, I came across a video by Astrolabe called “Past and Present: Technology Then and Now”. This video highlights different pieces of technology and how they have changed throughout the year.
One item that was mentioned in the video is the Floppy Disk. I have to admit that I have never used a Floppy Disk and I had no idea what its function was. The video compared the use of a Floppy Disk to our use of a thumb drive. This is one interesting example of how technology has evolved quickly over the years. Today, many individuals are already moving away from physical storage devices and are choosing cloud storage. I wonder what will be next?
What technology means to me:
Like most people in today’s society, technology plays a huge role in my life. I use technology on a daily basis to interact with others and to get new information. For me, technology is about connections. Though different online platforms, I am able to send messages, pictures, and videos almost instantly. I believe that it is a huge privilege to have the ability to connect with others virtually. Especially throughout the pandemic, technology has allowed me to keep in contact with my grandparents, other family members, and friends all over the world. If I did not have these forms of communication, I am sure that I would have been feeling much more lonely and isolated over the past year.
As technology is becoming more and more prevalent in society, educators are also seeing more and more technology in the classroom. There are so many benefits to using technology in the classroom, and if used correctly, technology can create new learning experiences that would not have been available to students in the past.
For example, technology can help “transport” students and expose them to learning opportunities that they would not have access to in their schools or cities. There are so many amazing virtual field trips that can be used in the classroom. Here are a few that I’ve found:
This is just one example of how technology can elevate educational experiences!
On the other hand, there are some downsides to technology being heavily present in the classroom. An article on CNET warns that “technology is exacerbating the class divide rather than helping address it”. Technology may worsen the inequalities that are created due to socioeconomic status. In other words, students who do not have the same access to technology may feel disadvantaged compared to their classmates. This is something that educators should keep in mind when planning to use technology in the classroom.
I’d like to know: What role do you see technology having in your future classroom?