I have a confession to make. I have to be one of the most technologically disadvantaged person to exist; yet, I’m in a field where understanding technology is key to the developing of others. Well…depending on whom you ask.
Over the years, it seems as if our technology changes at the drop of a hat. With the arrival of bluetooth, smart phones, iPads, and notebooks, it is painfully obvious for some that we are coming a long way. I could not have fathomed 10 years ago that ESL students would be allowed to use their Blackberrys or iPhones as language dictionaries. As the generational adage goes, in my day, we used paperback foreign language dictionaries. We had the Internet but the concept of laptops were for the extremely wealthy, or at least that is what some of us thought.
The most amazing thing that I have been able to take advantage of as technology continues to develop is the availability of free books, specialized jargon glossaries for interpreters, sample lesson plans, and other materials for all language professionals. Let’s not forget that with the advent of email, instant messenging programs, YouTube, Skype, and the concept of podcasting has allowed us to connect with others in distant areas either by video, audio, and text. I could easily give a list of previously popular forms of communication technology that could have been, or still may be for some, beneficial.
There are those of us out there, myself included, that have been hesitant with adapting to the use of new technologies as they come. I have a challenge for you, if you are willing: starting either today or Monday, (1) write down a list of the forms of technology that you would not be willing to use; (2) next, write a list of technologies that you were familiar with or have used in the past; (3) think about why you warmed to the technologies that you have used and why you have apprehension to newer ones and write down your thoughts as you go along; (4) pick one new technology that you do not like and research it, using only unbiased information.
Once you have opened yourself to considering a certain form of technology, write down the possibilities of projects that you could do.
See what develops as you do this exploration. If you would like a small sample, here is mine:
- Technology previously familiar or used:
- Picture Pages
- Speak n Say
- Commodore 64
- cell phone
- cordless phone
- electronic translators
- chat rooms
- Instant messaging (yahoo, AOL, gmail)
Technology that I’m hesistant about
I’m chose Skype. I was willing to work with Skype because I spoke to other colleagues about the program. Each person explained how the process worked. When Skype was first available six years ago, there was a monthly cost and I was very unsure on how to use it.
Recently, I became a tutor for Livemocha and as a tutor or coach, it is important that one uses Skype. Majority of client dealings are for the purpose of conversation practice (at least in my case). Skype allows me to call other Skype members that live in other countries for free.
I can hold group conversations through text, audio, and video. If I decide to switch my role from educator to interpreter, I can hold conversations with a person needing language interpreting services in another state without having to leave the office. I started actively using Skype last month, and it’s been great!!!
I still have some reservations but this exploration has helped to lessen them and to broaden my mind more. I hope this example helps you to do the same.