Sunday, March 7, 2010

Technology and Me

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. On the one hand, I love the convenience of all those technological gadgets. On the other, I don't know the finer points of most of them, and if something goes wrong, I haven't a clue what to do. Just an example, when I came back to Houston after Ralph's funeral, my answering machine with his voice message on it wasn't working. Could there be a worse time to lose the sound of his voice? I tried to get the phone to work; in fact I tore through the house, trying every unit. Nothing. I burst into tears. I called my daughter. She couldn't help. I sat down at Ralph's desk, put my head down and cried some more. My gaze wandered to the floor, and it was then I realized that the phone wasn't working because it was unplugged. Fixed it and called my daughter, who said, "Your first technological triumph."

I haven't had many. The new, improved look of my blog is the work of my son. He finally got what I meant about my blog looking boring and said, "I can fix that." I watched but I'm sure if I get tired of this template, I'll have to call on him again.

Friday I had lunch with a friend who showed me the dozens of apps on her IPhone. Until recently I didn't know what app meant. Now I do, but I'm not sure I want a bunch of them on my phone. I use my phone to make and receive phone calls. Do I want to check my e-mail, play games, read the weather report? I did see an app with someone reading and showing Hop on Pop, and I thought it would be cute to use in a therapy session but then I realized I could read it myself in a therapy session with the same results.

My son has a Kindle and loves it. Call me a dinosaur, but I prefer a real book. I like my GPS but sometimes it gives me strange directions; still it's a useful device to have. Of course, my computer is essential to my life, but when it gets a virus which takes me to and no where else and I have to turn it off till my computer guy can get here, I am miserable.

Last week I tested a young child who is stuttering. I always tape a stuttering evaluation, go back over it and count the number of stuttered words. I set my ancient, trusty cassette recorder on the table, and the child was astounded. He'd never seen one before.

Saturday I attended a dyslexia conference and went to a breakout session on technology in the schools. The presenter said research has shown that children whose parents are constantly on their cell phones frequently develop behavior problems. There was a discussion of privacy issues, impulsivity in posting, plagiarism, teaching children how to judge source material (Adults often have trouble with that, too) and radiation exposure from cell phones. I came away thinking that, like advances in medicine which have side effects and ethical issues, advances in technology have, too, and we have to think about that. Then, of course, I went home, heated up dinner in the microwave and watched Saturday Night Live on my HD TV.



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