Tag Archives: Technology

I Lost Myself In TechnoSpace vs. You Can’t Click a Book

12 Sep

I just finished reading Maus I & Maus II by Art Spiegelman.

As you notice from the covers, the books deal with the Holocaust. They’re graphic novels.

One of the concerns of education is getting kids to read – a popular argument states that in the faster-paced, technological world, kids have a hard time focusing long enough to get into a book. Entertainment is changing. A friend recently told me that the website StumbleUpon was recently likened to channel surfing. Because of the huge access to many links within one person’s interest area, a StumbleUpon user spends less time viewing a single website than the average Internet user. This guy claims that the average StumbleUpon user spends only 5-10 seconds on each website. That’s a lot of media, a lot of clicking, an OVERWHELMING amount of stimulus and little absorption of information.

How can the analog world compete?

Books are cumbersome. They take up physical space. AND YOU CAN LOSE THEM. They don’t have hyperlinks (even those are becoming too time-consuming) and when you flip the page, nothing pops up. And the words are static. No flashes, no bells and whistles, nothing.

I have a few solutions.

1. SING the words!  Put it to a popular tune and Sing Yourself because the good Lord knows no one else will. Good ol’ Vergil once said not to consign your words to leaves, but to sing them in your own voice and the stalwart Hildegard von Bingen rang out, “The words are the body. The music is the soul,” so burnish those rusty pipes and let loose into the world! You students will have proof that you’re crazy, but the mad always draw our attention, no?

2. Let them slam the book onto the desk once they finish it. Really. I had a professor in college do this after we finished the Iliad. It was the only book we read all semester. And guess what? Slamming that book felt gooooooooooooooooooooooooood after reaching 24 massive books only to find out the surprise ending with the Trojan Horse (i.e. Hollywood lies!).

3. DON’T try to convince them that books are better than any “fast moving, new age, newfangled piece of machinery!” A) they won’t believe you and B) they’ll want to prove you wrong and therefore not read to spite you. Just help them to realize that books are worth it. Slowly and surely. Just like the old days. Remind them of that proverbial tortoise.

4. Let them get fired up about what they hate about books. Yeah. That’s right. Let it all out. I won’t be defensive or angry. I’ll just hold it all close, even though it hurts. Then, when there’s nothing more to complain about and you start feeling comfortable, I’ll sing to you. That’s right. It’ll be like soothing a fussy baby or an overemotional child at a birthday party.

Fussy Baby.

5. Use graphic novels! I never before read Maus because, like AN OLD FOGY, I doubted the graphic novel. Make them open up the graphic novel IN CLASS. Read the first page. Heavy content, agreeable medium.

6. Deal with the heavy content. Just do it. And be clever.

And did I mention linking all the ancient with the pop-culture relevant? (Jurassic Park still counts as fairly modern, right?)


Dear 80 Year Old Me

7 Aug

Social media confounds me. It’s elusive. Especially when I’m trying to be an analog woman in a digital world.

Me. Attempting to modernize.

Yet I’m trying to be analog while simultaneously advocating to my generation. The generation of Facebook.

What am I doing?

I’m blinding stumbling through linking a new Twitter account to a Blog I haven’t fully figured out while deleting my Facebook because I believe it’s indulgent and useless. Yet I’m replacing it with a “business” Facebook to generate more views.

What in the hell?

The technological world has offered us a brand new labyrinth in which to lose ourselves. And unlike Jim Hensen’s version, I don’t have the promise of defeating David Bowie in a moment of empowering self actualization at the end. I could spend hours, days even, lost in the many varied corridors of the web, just trying to figure out the best ways to link Twitter and WordPress and fine tuning every little detail to look more professional.

All the while the real world glitters beyond the infinite space of the web and I’m pissed off that I’m trying to figure this stuff out when I could be spending the hours in nature. Yet in order to try and reach the generation I’m a part of, I must compromise and integrate technology in my life. Which means figuring it out.

The Real World.

My Backyard.

What I'm Missing.

I feel like I’m eighty years old. I remember hearing a story about an old lady in the 50’s who refused to buy a refrigerator. Every year, she salted meats and canned jams, dried food, vegetables. Then she finally gave in and she marveled at how easy it all was. Why isn’t this happening for me?

I just want to frolic outside, write poems, and reach my generation through the physical means of “Hello, how are you? My name’s Jaime” and a handshake. Yet social media, THIS, this is the way to my people’s hearts. And I’m coming to grips with my inadequacy, yet valiantly bearing on. Go 80 year old me.

Never too young to learn how much left there is to learn.

Facebook: the Death of Classroom Education

30 Mar

I’m all for the productive uses of technology in the classroom: the ability to research or access information on the web is an invaluable resource for students and teachers alike. We’re in a digital age! The possibilities for technological intellectual stimulation are endless.

But as the madman in Anderson’s Feed tells the world: “We live in a time of calamity!”

Social networking is a wonderful resource; Facebook allows us to communicate with friends and family around the world. Every single person can open her or her ideas and passions to an audience previously unimaginable- with the click of one button, you can share with 700 “friends” a poem you wrote about your dying cat – and people will respond. Blogging and Twitter reveal the writer to an international stage, where the activist can connect with the philanthropist, the organization can meet the volunteer, and colleagues can collaborate to reform the profession – what a potential for wildfire revolution!

Instead, we’ve developed a mass market of meaningless social connectedness and technological irresponsibility. Continue reading