A Day in the Life Related to Technology
Welcome Back Y’All!
Welcome back Y’All! I am glad to be here and to be finishing up my last course for the Master’s Certificate of Educational Technology and Media. For some reason, I feel like I have written a post similar to this one over the course of the last year, however, I seem to be unable to recollect which class it was for and what the heck I would have titled it. Anyways, I guess how I have been using technology in my everyday life has probably changed from a year ago until now. I’m not quite sure if it’s the end of the school year approaching, or the rain and overcast weather outside, but my brain seems to be in a bit of a fog, so this may be a jumbled post. Readers, please be patient with me today.
Technology & The Home
From the very second I wake up in the morning until I close my eyes before bed, I am interacting with technology at some level. For instance, when my alarm goes off to get ready for work I look for my phone to cancel it, and then quickly check the weather on the Weather Network to better prepare my kiddo for his day at daycare and all the outfit changes he may need. From there, I’ll usually run a load of laundry in my pretty basic, yet new washing machine with basic technology. After folding some clothes from the dryer, I’ll head back upstairs to unload the dishwasher and then load it up again if need be. Preparing for breakfast, and lunches isn’t my favourite thing to do, but having a fridge with compartments, and different temperature options within, really helps keep meal prepping a lot easier.
When you think of technology, would you consider these major appliances to fit that category? I probably wouldn’t have before taking one of these courses, but now, I know that even the basics of things like water taps with autosensing temperatures, the Ecobee controlling my furnace, and all the other things in my home that make life that much easier or more enjoyable, all have a theme of new (or older, even old at times) technology interwoven.
Another technology that I use at home quite regularly is our TV, equipped with cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus. Seems outrageous, doesn’t it? But when you’re also a teacher, some of those streaming services make life that much easier in the classroom. Anyways, a bit off-topic here, so let’s get back on track. Lastly, I love driving my car, with all the bells and whistles it has to offer. I mean, it’s nothing super spectacular, but after driving a two-seater 2000 coupe for the longest time, anything newer with options feels like I’m spoiling myself (even though it seems more like a mom-mobile than my fancy little car). And on top of everything, I use my phone quite a bit to communicate, stay organized, make lists, and do some research (you know… shopping, deals, finding out what’s new at Costco today, etc.). Yes, if you’ve taken a course with me before, you’ll know that Tech and the City isn’t so techy after all, rocking an iPhone 8. Yes. You read that correctly. It’s probably at least 3 years overdue, but it’s held on since 2017 or something wild like that.
Technology, Teaching & Learning
In my teaching practice, I rely on technology every single day to carry out my teaching duties. Although I don’t plan to elaborate on each point specifically, I thought that I would outline a few of the ways that I use technology daily and speak on a few specifically. Off the top of my head, a few technologies that I use daily are:
- Google Workspace (formerly Suite)
- Microsoft Outlook—email
- Computer—Lenovo ThinkPad
- Chrome Books
- Front Row microphone
- Electric pencil sharpeners
- Projector & speakers
- School intercom
There is probably a boatload of other technologies that I have forgotten, and probably use every single day, but again, I am going to attribute it to the brain fog. For the purpose of keeping this post a bit more condensed (short posts are not something that I am usually known for), I plan to go into a bit more depth into using the Google Workspace, my Lenovo ThinkPad, and my Front Row microphone.
I utilize Google Workspace daily for Google Classroom, Google Docs, and more, however, probably use those two the most. My kiddos in my classroom are all set up on Google Classroom and know how to use it quite well (for the most part). There is always more that can be improved upon in my teaching practice, but this is one that I like to use and find that it helps kiddos stay organized and find what they are looking for more easily. I also use it as a way for kiddos to stay in the loop if they miss school and are able to work from home if they have homework or want to enrich their learning. I think that I could do a better job of teaching Google Docs to the kiddos and get them better prepared for word processing.
I wasn’t sold on my Lenovo ThinkPad in the beginning, but after some practice, it is quite a little gem. It’s lightweight, has a stylus pen housed right inside, and can be used as a touch screen or even as a tablet. Pretty neat. Because it is a work computer, I don’t have a lot of freedom of what I can download, etc. so it can be limiting that way but at no fault to the computer itself. I use it all of the time and rely on it quite heavily. I have a few friends that have since moved provinces and they aren’t given a school computer to use, so I am extra thankful for one, and a good one at that.
Lastly, probably a piece of technology I really couldn’t live without now is my Front Row microphone. It is such a treat for my weak voice. I rarely lose my voice now, and I find that kiddos listen a heck of a lot better to what I have to say and process it more efficiently. I wear the microphone around my neck and have a tower in the classroom. The radius in which the tower picks up the microphone isn’t super great, but I am so thankful for it. Mine also came with a separate microphone that can be held so that students or guest teachers can use it. It can be intimidating at first, but it has been quite a lifesaver. Not sure how I did it without all those years.
Interacting with Others
I feel as if I have changed quite a bit in this department over time. I can’t say that I was ever really into social media and utilized it more as a browser with limited interaction. However, growing up I did like using MSN to chat with my peers and would text and iMessage up a storm. However, the older I am getting, and not to mention getting through my maternity leave in a lockdown, I am gravitating toward speaking on the phone for a few different reasons. For example, I took a quick peek at my phone right now to write this sentence, and I have 86 messages and 48 personal emails waiting (this doesn’t even scratch the surface of work emails). I find that I don’t answer messages unless I have the time to dive into a conversation, which is almost never. I want to be present, and it can be tricky to do that when I am trying to multi-task and text at the same time. Group chats also seem to suck the life out of me, as when I am teaching I don’t have time to look at my phone and by the time I do, I have a lot of catch-up to play and almost miss the conversation entirely. My phone doesn’t help either, as it struggles to work properly at the best of times, and often messages get ‘read’ that aren’t really read. I do appreciate being able to FaceTime with people too, especially friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.
At work, I would prefer to email people instead of meet with them if it is something that can be easily answered. This is a timing piece for me. I don’t like superficial meetings where we gather to discuss things that could have been covered in a 2-minute email. However, when socializing at work or with bigger issues, I like face-to-face interactions to be able to connect with people, see their reactions, or get a better gut feeling about a particular situation. I will be the first to admit that I am not the best at keeping up with communications and will put it off to get other things done. Maybe it was all the time spent with limited interactions during the many lockdowns that made me appreciate my “me” time that much more.
Let’s Hear It!
Constructive feedback only makes our writing and reflection stronger. I welcome you to answer one (or however many you like) of the prompting questions below, write your own general comment, or even like the post. Heck, I won’t even judge you if you skimmed this long post and went straight to the questions. Any feedback is very much appreciated.
- Do you consider major appliances in your home or workplace as technology tools?
- If you had to choose one technology that you couldn’t live without, what would it be and why?
- What technology has significantly enhanced your teaching practice, your learning, or your everyday life?
- What technology do you use the most to interact with friends, family, coworkers, etc.?
- In your everyday life, what part of technology frustrates you the most and why?
16 thoughts on “Yeah, But Now I’m Chasing Text Messages with My Sunburnt iPhone8, like a Heart-Broke Desperado, Headed Right Back to My Roots”
I would definitely include major appliances in the category of technology, especially if you consider all the “smart” features that are available. In my car I can connect to my phone via bluetooth to listen to music, or connect to satellites to navigate my way with GPS. When I cook supper my smoker sends me a notification when my meat has reached temperature. At work I can connect to the copier with a fob and use it to scan, copy, email and fax documents. So yes, in my opinion technology includes major appliances.
Jessica, a little off-topic, but what smoker brand do you have? Would you recommend it? My spouse has been on the hunt for one, or talking about one for the longest time ever! It definitely sounds interesting that it hooks up to an app. I have such a love/hate relationship with the photocopier at work and my fob. If the network isn’t running properly, I can’t get onto the machine and that can be very frustrating.
These are all amazing questions! Thank you Kelly for igniting these thoughts:
If you had to choose one technology that you couldn’t live without, what would it be and why?
It would have to be Wi-Fi! Because without Wi-Fi there would be no easy access to my phone, Disney +, the INTERNET! And I do not want to go back to dial up internet… (can you hear it?)
What technology has significantly enhanced your teaching practice, your learning, or your everyday life?
I would have to say the internet, because of the internet I have found so many incredible lessons and videos. With the internet I have access to museums, research, and locations around the World. Because, unfortunately, I am not Miss Frizzle and I cannot have everyone climb into the magic school bus to travel everywhere… The internet gives me the closest option!
What technology do you use the most to interact with friends, family, coworkers, etc.?
Texting. My family has a group chat. The science team at school has a group chat. That is how we share pictures, ideas, questions, etc.
Though I have recently found out that my siblings and cousins have a Snap Chat group that I am apparently missing out on….
In your everyday life, what part of technology frustrates you the most and why?
Back to Wi-Fi! I have found that I have very little patience with the speed of the Wi-Fi or when the Wi-Fi cuts out completely. Because I rely on it so much, it can be very frustrating. The worst is that our laptops are connected to our classroom projectors wirelessly…. So when Wi-Fi is out, very little happens.
You’ve brought up so many great points, Nicole! I do have to agree that I think I rely on the WIFI quite a bit to get general tasks. From using the photocopier at work to sending emails, all the way to streaming videos and video services such as Disney+, I use it all of the time and really miss it when I don’t have it (I also only have the 5GB limit on my phone lol).
I really like the idea of having a grade-alike group chat to share resources and run ideas by people. I think that this probably would work better in high schools, as I only have one other teacher that does Grade 6 in my school and we are classroom neighbors. I think if we expanded it to other schools, it may be overwhelming for me and my lack of following group chats lol. But I definitely can see how it would be super useful! Again, thanks for stopping in and raisisng some really great points!
I 100% include appliances as tech. Everything I own has tech in it that is supposed to make life easier and things work better and it does make things easier and quicker in most cases. I guess my biggest frustration also comes from all of the technology that is embedded in everything we have and use. One little thing goes wrong and it’s a huge problem and usually costly to fix. I keep thinking about those movies where all tech stops working and wonder what I am left with that would keep my family alive. My hand pumped well and fire pit perhaps? Can you tell I like disaster movies? I guess I always wonder if we’ve gone to far or made things too complicated in some ways. That may be my age talking. ?
Sorry Karen, I couldn’t find your blog post URL on the eci830.ca site, as I usually link people’s names so other people can check out their site too. Once it’s up, I will make sure that I link it up.
Anyways, thanks so much for stopping by. I can see how technology can be frustrating in that sense. Everything we seem to use nowadays has a direct link with technology. I also agree that with technology comes costs associated with keeping it up. For instance (here comes a rant), I purchased a Whirlpool. And for anyone that knows me or has taken a class with me, I love Costco so don’t take this the wrong way. However, I purchased this machine from there to have the customer service and warranty to adequately cover this technology. Anyways, the online company is technically a different company than the warehouse. The machine’s motor completely seized. Will not work. Whirlpool has ONE, yes ONE company that services warranty on all of their major appliances for Saskatchewan. We waited over a week to get a technician to come out and tell us they needed a new part. 9 business days go by and there is no ETA when the part was supposed to be in and fixed within a week. Called back the company, and they said that they would be a rush in for the part and expand the search to all of Canada and the States instead of our local warehouse (whatever that means) which can take up to another 21 business days. So, that would be a total of 30 business days before they will even think of letting us return the machine.
That’s 6 weeks of waiting to hear if they have a part, over a week for the technician to come to tell us that we needed a new part, and however long for the part to be delivered, and installed. So at the earliest, 3 months of waiting… after countless calls with Costco, Costco Congierge, and Whirlpool, a replacement machine (or a return) cannot be issued for 21 business days until they deem it unsuccessful for finding the part. Frustrating, right? They have no solutions for me, except to wait. Is this a privilege to have a washing machine, of course? But if I have this luxury then I expect it to work. The only solution I can think of is to go out, purchase a new one, return it within the allotted 90 days, and call it a day. Does anyone else feel their gears grinding over this, or is it just me?
So yes, in summary (lol) I love technology, but I hate it at the same time when it doesn’t work and makes life tricky. If anyone has any great tips or dealt with a similar situation, please, please, please, reach out and let me know what the heck I should be doing right now.
Hello again Kelly,
Yes, appliances are definitely a form of tech! I have all my Whirlpool appliances (stove, fridge, washer, dryer, and dishwasher) all connected to my phone through their app. I love it because I can preheat my oven on my way home, delay start my washer/dryer/dishwasher, and it is just seriously cool when my oven gets an update (it recently got an air-fry update which is amazing). I love it, my husband refuses to download the app. He can relate to you, he has held onto his Galaxy 6 and I’m onto the 20. I ca also use our nest to check the temperature in the house when on vacation which is connected to water sensors; this gives us major peace of mind when we travel.
The part of tech that frustrates me the most is that people can always contact me. My personal phone is also my work phone, and I get emails, texts, and phone call at all times of the day and days of the week. When you are trying to take a break, it has a tendency to make you feel guilty for ignoring a notification. Often if it will take me less than 5 minutes to complete I will stop my current task and do that-not a great practice. I need to do better at separating my work life from my personal life!
Hey there again, Leah! It’s nice to be taking another class with you (even though that puts our Moose Jaw numbers up once again–jk!). I am super glad to hear that your appliances are working, especially after my rant I just had lol! You’re so right. With technology, a lot of great things can happen and are happening, but one major downfall is that you are always accessible to people. I find this tricky too being a teacher and never getting time away from work. For example, even when teachers are away from the building we still have families emailing us to mention that they will be away, need homework, have issues, etc. and then there becomes a really big imbalance between professional and personal lives. Yes, I know that some people will say “well that’s what you signed up for”, but if you’re not in the education world and on the ground level, it’s a hard concept to understand.
I think that I do a way better job of setting work/home life boundaries than I did when I first started to teach. I would check emails at night and even on the weekends. It took me a while to realize how unhealthy this was, and one year told my families and kiddos that I now have office hours, and to please respect time with my family as I do with theirs. You hit the nail on the head with feeling guilty too, but I realized after probably too long, that when my kiddo’s families were leaving work, most of them left their work at work, and I needed to start doing the same. When families start putting outside of work expectations on teachers, it’s not fair, and there needs to be respect and boundaries.
For your mind being in a “fog” I still think that your blog post was great and I really enjoyed reading it! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights on everyday tech! Also, side note, I still have the iPhone 8 too, working like charm still! So I am glad that I am not the only one left with this old school phone!
As for your questions…
*Do you consider major appliances in your home or workplace as technology tools?
Yes! How could we live without them? But perhaps these do not always come to a persons mind at first when thinking “tech.”
*If you had to choose one technology that you couldn’t live without, what would it be and why?
I would say my fridge! Housing all of the foods is essential. I will still survive without a phone or TV! Furnace is a close second… those minus 40 degree days in Saskatchewan winters…
*What technology has significantly enhanced your teaching practice, your learning, or your everyday life?
The internet! I cannot imagine teaching without it. It is my go-to for all things teaching! How did teachers come up with lesson plans and fun teaching ideas before the time of internet? I do not know!
*What technology do you use the most to interact with friends, family, coworkers, etc.?
Text message. I much prefer to interact face to face, but in the daily busy lives for us all, it can be hard to find the time.
*In your everyday life, what part of technology frustrates you the most and why?
When my Wi-Fi is not working! Nothing more frustrating than trying to complete something on your computer at home or school and the internet cuts out! Real world problems…
You’re always just the sweetest, Alyssa! I am so glad that there is another iPhone 8 in this class! Past peers would be so happy to hear that I am not alone! You hit the nail on the head with your points. I especially love my furnace in the winter here in Saskatchewan, and I think my pup appreciates the AC the most in the summer.
I often think of what our teaching looked like in our first year at Arcola together. I mean we had the internet and computers, but I feel like it was so different than today. Not as many ideas on Pinterest, or TPT, and more! For that reason alone, teaching has come such a far way and has made it so much easier in some ways, and I guess more difficult in others. Always a win, lose, right? Anyways, I am so excited to be in a course with you and looking forward to working with you.
Hi Kelly, great to have another class with you & congrats on being almost done!!
Jessica Parr had shared an article on Twitter the other day that made me realize that online shopping could technically be a form of technology. This was something I had never even considered before. Following that logic, I would say that major appliances would be considered technology.
I found your post was quite similar to mine (as we use many of the same platforms and tech tools daily). However, I totally never thought to mention my Front Row speaker when writing my post! That is definitely my second favourite classroom tech tool , right after my (finally) mounted projector. It has been amazing to be able to teach without my throat hurting everyday, I just hope they let me keep it for next school year!
Britt, it’s so nice having another course with you. You are always so creative and come up with the neatest projects! Yes, it’s exciting almost being done my certificate, but I feel sad at the same time because the EC&I community is so great, and such rich learning happens from not only the courses themselves but from our peers too.
OMG! I totally forgot to mention that my projector was mounted. At the last school, I was at, all of the classrooms had them for some time already. When I went to my current school and had a projector on a cart, it was hard getting used to it again. Yes, it is a privilege to have a projector alone, I get that. But anyway, my projector was not reliable and often overheated and would just stop working. So I am super lucky to have a projector mounted. It’s so great! Yes, my speaker is seriously my best school friend lol. My kiddos always joke about it, but it saves my life. Do you have any neat ways that you use it? I definitely do not use it to its full potential yet. Something to work towards, that’s for sure!
Even after these ECI 830-34 classes, I still use social media for personal uses only and still struggle with posting publicly. I agree with your points about emails and taking so much time out of our day. I had a very aggressive and unnecessary email from a parent the other day that blew my socks off. Taking time to cool down and formulate a professional and coherent response took time and ate up most of my prep time. If it is a busy day, those emails can wait. But often with the technology at our fingertips, I feel it is expected that we respond right away, as people want immediate answers at all hours of the day. I am bad for answering work emails at 10 pm when I finally have time to slow down and unwind… silly, I know.
Looking forward to another great semester with you! Cheers!
I agree with you Dalton. I am a cautious social media user, to begin with and keep it strictly personal. I know many people who use social media in the classroom well, productively with curricular connections, but I have also seen a lot of ugly things over the years of teaching and it isn’t something that I am comfortable taking on at this point. Is it taking the easy way out? Potentially, but it also has to be something that we have to be comfortable with and willing to accept or take on any potential risks involved.
To your other point, finding a work-home life balance is something that took me years to learn. But once I learned it, it felt very liberating and I was able to give more of myself to my family. You can’t turn off being a teacher, as you are one 24/7, 365. But you can control the headspace and access that your stakeholders have to you, and the balance you need to create with your own mental health, wellness and relationships.
I like your idea of ending a blog post with some reflection questions!! I might try that for next time!
I would say that the social media website that is the most valuable to me is Twitter. I would call myself an active global citizen and follow many Twitter accounts that focus on global affairs. When the Russia-Ukraine conflict first broke out, I was glued to my Twitter feed. Although I felt helpless to do anything, by following the local journalists on the ground, I was comforted by the fact that I was at least staying up to date and informed on all of the happenings. It is also a surreal feeling, being united with millions of others over a common concern. I remember the local Ukrainian journalist I started following at the beginning of the conflict only had 25k followers. To date, he has 1.1 million. It is mind-boggling! A definite value of social media is its ability to connect people from all walks of life!
There have been many times when I have also showed tweets to students in the classroom. In particular, lately, I had compiled a series of tweets (containing video, pictures, maps, etc) to my students about the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The authenticity of that content really got the students engaged in the question, “What does it mean to be active global citizens?” I view my role as an educator not only to teach the curriculum, but also to try to empower students to be informed about what’s happening in their community, their country and their world.
After responding to many posts in one day, I find it super helpful when people have prompting questions for me to follow. I find them super helpful, Kayla.
Twitter is something that is very new to me, and I only created an account last January for one of these courses. I do enjoy it to a certain extent, but I am quite a social media outcast in a way. I use them periodically, but in no way really depend on them in any way. I also find myself limiting my time spent on social media, to avoid the aimless scrolling and keeping my mind occupied by screen time. I know many people are huge fans of it, and I appreciate that it shares more information and current events than just pictures for sure. I also like the way that you are integrating it into your classroom. Thanks for sharing.