Technology Changed You (or Somebody)
Joseph Ugoretz | March 27, 2010 | 1:53 pm | The Techno-You | No comments

For this reflection, I’d like to ask you to look back and to look forward. And perhaps to talk to some other people.

Think back over your own life.  Have the changes in technology changed you, over the years? Are you the same person you were in elementary school? In high school? Sure you are–but maybe there are things that you do now, or see now, or ways that you act or interact now, that you didn’t before.  How did technology change you?

It might help in this (or might be an alternative approach) to talk to some people in your life.  Do you have older relatives, or friends or relatives from another place?  Interview them, and let’s see if they have different memories of the changes in you–or the changes in them.  They may have a longer (or different) history of interacting with technology, and it may have changed them differently.  Or they may see that it’s changed the world and the people they see differently.  (You could try talking to younger people, too–this works both ways).

As usual, you can do this reflection in written form–but you also have the alternative to give us a video or audio interview.  Whatever seems to fit your content best (and you can explain why you chose whichever medium you chose, too).

Protected: My So Called Life
Shelly Darden | May 26, 2011 | 7:02 pm | The Techno-You | Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

TechnO’Hagan
Kaitlyn O'Hagan | April 8, 2011 | 11:59 pm | The Techno-You | 6 Comments

I did my reflection as a timeline in dipity. TechnO’Hagan looks at the way technology has changed over the course of the lives of my family members, and how it has affected the way we work, play, and interact with each other and the world around us. I think focusing on my family allowed me to show the impact of technology on multiple generations, as well as show when technology impacted people on a large scale (assuming my family is average), rather than simply when the technology was invented or became available.

I see many advantages to doing my reflection in this format: it allowed me to show change over time in a visual, easily digestible manner, and it allowed me to include video. The ability to show change over time can help the viewer reach conclusions they might have otherwise missed – for example, how technological advances have speed up over time, increasing exponentially. The ability to show the viewer the actual video of my interviews also can demonstrate more than a transcript or summary might have. For example, the viewer can see how matter-of-fact my father is about having once bathed weekly in water from a well that he heated over an open hearth – something that I, and I assume most of my peers, find strange and foreign.

However, there are certainly disadvantages. It took me much longer to prepare this reflection than any of my previous reflections. It will take you much longer to examine the entire reflection that it would if I had just written a few pages of summary. In fact, while I might have directly drawn conclusions in a longer written piece, by doing my reflection this way I am forcing the viewer to make connections and draw conclusions for themselves. For example, I do not specifically say anywhere in my timeline that as time passed and technology became more integrated into society, people became exposed to it at a much younger age. However, this can be inferred from the fact that my younger siblings all got their first phone/computer when they were younger than I was when I got my first phone/computer. The affect this has had on them can be gleaned through my final video, where my family reflects on the good and bad things about technology. Forcing the viewer to find the meaning themselves can be a positive aspect of such a project, because conclusions that one reaches on their own, having examined the raw data (in this case, the interviews with my family) may resonate on a deeper level, further the viewers understanding, or simply make a more memorable impression.

Overall, I think the benefits at least counterbalance, if not outweigh, the detriments. Either way, I had a lot of fun putting this reflection together. If I had had an infinite amount of time, I would have loved to have added many more points on the timeline, as well as fixed up my editing (it was my first time using iMovie – very easy, but my skills could definitely be improved!). I hope you have as much fun viewing my reflection as I had making it.

A guide to my family tree, in descending age order:

Hugh – Father

Kathy – Mother

Kaitlyn – Me!

Erin – Sister

Connor – Brother

Colleen – Sister

New Years Resolution: Smash My Blackberry
Moses Sutton | April 6, 2011 | 1:50 pm | The Techno-You | No comments

Broken Blackberry

Five years ago my mother was incapable of turning on a computer let alone maintaining an email address, using Microsoft Word, the Internet, and managing music and pictures. At first, it seemed a novel idea. “Your mom is going to take computer lessons,” my dad told me. “Finally,” I thought, “it’s about time.” And she followed through. For a long time I had to be ready to dispose a daily fifteen-minute time block to my mother’s inept computer skills and knowledge. She would forget where the ‘Start’ button was and tell me to “call AOL!” (America Online was the epitome of technology and computers for her for two years).

Fast-forwarding three years, one day my mother came home with a gift for me, a Blackberry smartphone. She told me “you need one, it’s about time.” You see, she came a long way from her computer-less days. She became obsessed with emails, often chain emails. She got an iPod and an iPad immediately when it was released. She set up a wireless printer, Bluetooth connectivity on her Macbook, and edited wireless router configurations and restrictions through the house PC on her own. And then the Blackberry made its entrance. Equipped with worldwide access to the Internet and a four-gigabyte memory card, my mother was unstoppable. The immediate knowledge of the world was at her fingertips. I would find myself walking in the door with groceries to the shocking flash of the camera on her phone snapping at the momentous occasion. Within minutes every family member on her BBM contact list was graced with a portrait of me holding bags of groceries in my sweatpants on a Tuesday afternoon.

The obsession with technology and communication was missing one facet. Having learned a lesson from our mistake in introducing my mother to technology my family downplayed the features and potential of Facebook. But one day my mother announced, “I signed up for Facebook!” This sealed the deal. That was it. There was endless communication capability. Facebook friends. Posting and tagging on Walls (including mine) was inevitable. And then she activated Facebook on her Blackberry. The barriers of communication that at one time physically manifest in closing the door to my room were broken.

I took my gift with great trepidation. I knew the devil that lay within, the absorbing obsessive undertone that came hand-in-hand with my new smartphone. But I was using a flip phone without a color screen, was I supposed to reject it? In hindsight, the answer is yes. But I took the phone, activated my number, and begin adding friends to my Blackberry Messenger list.

Fast-forwarding one more year from then, my Blackberry is still by my side. And I hate it. It has consumed me. Until the past year I kept my dose of technology in check. It wasn’t a drug. I was always good at computers – burning CDs at ten years old, building websites and writing html at twelve, and taking on digital design too. I was the guy that can have just one cigarette and stop at my own will, but with technology. I milked the advantages of following the newest technology, reaping the benefits of new gadgets, software, computers, and websites. But the Blackberry ruined me. I aided in creating the technology beast that took over my mother only to see it whiplash back at me.

Fast-forwarding to this past January I made a New Year’s resolution. I am going to literally smash my Blackberry Smartphone this year (and ironically, despite its symbolism, perhaps put it up on YouTube). It’s about time. Even with my addiction, I do still see the benefits of technology. I’ve discussed in previous posts, papers, and reflections on how technology has aided my learning experience. It still does. But the Blackberry has created a mobile world for me that has no boundaries or limits. The BBM application is the prime culprit too.

Today, my mother is in technology rehab. She has deactivated her Facebook account and deleted BBM. She found her balance. This year I will find mine. And it begins with picking up my old flip phone. It’s about time.

Dependently Independent: My Technological Life
December Lange | April 6, 2011 | 12:49 pm | The Techno-You | No comments

With major advances, technology has been able to open many doors. It provides a vein of communication, knowledge, and entertainment. Technology is a tool that simplifies daily life and streamlined American culture. It is an ingenious asset for individuals, societies, and the world as a whole. The impact of technology can be seen everywhere and very few areas have been left untouched or unstructured for these new tools. In my own life, technology has been incredibly influential. Technology has changed me most by giving me more freedom while simultaneously making me more dependent.

The summer before high school, I attended a summer camp for three weeks. It was four hours away from home and I would not have any interaction with my family during this time. It was the first time I had been away from home. In order to make the transition easier, my mom added me to her cell phone plan and I became a proud owner of a pink Motorola Razr. With this new piece of technology, I was able to become independent while still keeping a strong connection home. When I returned from camp, I used to phone as a means to effectively communicate with my family. I gained even more independence because I was allowed to be out more since my family would always have a way to reach me. I no longer had to be physically present for my mom to know I was safe. I was always a phone call away. However, with this new independence came a new dependency. I had to take my cell phone with me everywhere I went. At the beginning it was hard to adjust, but eventually it became habit. Now, like most people, I feel completely lost if my cell phone is more than a few feet from me. If I forget to bring it with me, I will return to find it. It has become a dependency without which I cannot function.

Similarly, technology such as my iPod has become a “necessity”. Before I had an iPod, I was content with listening to music when it was convenient. I had never bothered to carry around a CD player. Music was never a priority. However, as soon as I received this sleek and convenient gadget, that all changed. I was able to be gain independence from a radio or CDs. In addition to music, it has also provided entertainment in the form of games and movies and Internet access. Before I would be content to walk to class in silence, but now if I am not with someone I crave some type of noise. Luckily, I rarely leave without my iPod.

Although the dependency on objects can be unsettling, the independence that they afford me is important. Without a cell phone, I would not feel secure living so far away from home. Without a personal computer, I would have to spend hours in a library or computer lab. Because my life has been so simplified and the benefits are so great, I am more than happy to have a technological addiction.

 

Technology and Television Tribulations
Frieda Benun | April 5, 2011 | 11:34 pm | The Techno-You | 1 Comment

 

When evaluating the interview candidates for Reflection 5, I decided my father was the best choice for some insight on technology. He has always been very up to date on the latest gizmos and he’s a computer geek. (Just to illustrate: in college, he majored in Computers . . . 30 years ago before PCs were even widespread!)

I asked him how he thought technology has changed people over the years. Here was his answer (slightly paraphrased):

Everyone is connected today. We are connected through email, mobile devices and computers. People have zero attention spans because they are always running to check something. Everyone is used to jumping from A to B to C, instead of sitting still and focusing. There is no quiet time, we’re always looking at something or responding to something rather than thinking or reflecting. For example, this morning your sister was eating breakfast and watching one of her shows on the computer. She could have been talking to me (i.e. my dad) or reading a book or just thinking. Instead, she HAS to be connected to something. She doesn’t know how to just sit still and be comfortable with her own thoughts. She has to be entertained at all times. Maybe that’s it. She doesn’t know how to entertain herself. With so many flashing, buzzing, talking machines, she only knows how to keep busy if something else is doing the busying.

 

The monologue goes on and on, but I cut it short for brevity’s sake.  As I thought back on what my father said, I saw additional examples that supported his view in my own family.  To make things easier, let me outline our family of six: There’s Mom and Dad, me (20 years old), Brother #1 (18 years old), Brother #2 (15 years old) and Sister (12 years old). When Brother #1 and I were young (when the other two siblings were too young to be part of the story/not born), my parents were still idealistic. They believed that with the right upbringing, their children grow up to be leaders of society. Part of the idealism was the banning of the television on school days. If Brother #1 and I were bored, our parents would take us to the library or let play an educational computer game (this was before DVDs and movies were available on the computer). While most of my friends would race home to catch their favorite TV show, I came home, did my homework, had some free time for reading and computer, and then went to sleep. Although I fought, pleaded, argued, demanded, and begged to be allowed to watch TV, it was a very strict rule in the house that was always firmly enforced. It made me completely miserable (imagine NEVER being able to participate in the conversation when friends are discussing last night’s episode) but it also de facto incorporated nightly reading and a consistent homework routine into my schedule, as well as the schedule of Brother #1.

As Brother #3 and Sister got older, I think my parents gave up a little on their idealistic dreams for their children and the rules in the house became more lenient. Because technology had changed so much, not only did my parents have to control the TV rules, but there was also the computer to worry about. The computer was no longer a machine for CDs and Microsoft Word. It became an entire new media system. As my parents got worn down from the arguing, policing, and rule-enforcing, they started slowly easing up on the television/non-homework-related-computer ban. Eventually my two younger siblings were watching TV in some form or another every night. Unlike Brother #1 and I, Brother #2 and Sister would leave homework, studying, and reports for the last minute. Instead of talking about what they read or learned in school at the table, they instead would bring up a risqué story from something they saw on their favorite mindless TV show.

My family, relatives, and friends now unofficially consider Brother #1 and myself to be the studious ones, while Brother #2 and Sister are described as lazy, slacking, or “not students.” This is no reflection of their raw intelligence. Brother #3 scores exceedingly high on his standardized tests and Sister is an amazing writer. But when it comes to homework, chores, or even being respectful, they are both sorely lacking compared to Brother #1 and I. (This is in no way my biased opinion. It can be seen, plain as day, by any bystander.)

I won’t attribute all of the differences between the first and second half of children in my family solely to TV. Nature may have just as much a role as nurture does. And nurture may not only compose of how free time was spent on weeknights. Regardless, I see a direct correlation between the amount of TV watched and behavior.