13.7.11

Technology

Today Reuben and I got ourselves new phones. For months, since our phones were stolen back in February, we've been using my family's old cell phones - old as in the original, the very first cell phone I ever had. I was fairly late on the bandwagon to get a cell-phone, I think it was 2001 when I got it - and only because I was leaving for YWAM and needed it to connect with my family back home. No, it wasn't a "smart phone" - Reuben and I endearingly called them our "stupid phones." But they worked just fine for us. Texting was a little annoying, anyway, but it just meant that I texted less, that's all. The phones we got aren't anything fancy compared to most phones out on the market these days - they were both free upgrades - but they DO have touch screens and mine has a pull-out keyboard. And a camera, woo hoo! But the most exciting part is my wool felt owl pouch that I got to hold it. This, I am very proud of.



Speaking of technology, I was listening to a podcast by Orion Magazine the other day with two of my favorite scholarly people: Richard Louv and David Sobel. They were talking about the connection between nature and technology. The two seem to be an oxymoron, but it's true that technology can be utilized to enrich a nature experience. This has to be an intentional act on the part of the user, however. For instance, I am sitting here on my porch typing away on my Mac. Technology in the outdoors. Yes, I am out here because it feels nice, and I'm tired of being inside, but I'm not really connecting with the environment around me, because my focus is on this screen. David Sobel brought up a good point about technology: it should be judged by how long it takes to get your attention off the screen and back to the natural world. The computer, in most cases, would score negative points. So would tv. But think about a digital camera. You can use it to take pictures outside, you can use it to zoom closely into things, offering the ability to see things from a different perspective. You can go back later and look at them again, and use the images to develop questions and search for answers. At IslandWood, I would use a digital camera once in a while as a tool for inquiry-based learning. It was a hit with the kids! We also used Ipods at IslandWood. Not to listen to music (which, by the way, deadens the senses to the natural world - I came to the conclusion shortly after mine was stolen that I'm better off without my Ipod now anyway!), but to listen to bird calls through the external speaker, and to see pictures of bird and other animals. They even included facts about the animal that the kids could look through. I'm no birder, and I would pull the Ipod out whenever I didn't know what a particular bird was. It didn't take long for the kids to figure out which species we were looking at (or hearing). As a result of this technology, I still looked like I knew what I was doing, I learned something new, and the kids were totally engaged. Win win win situation.

After I finished all my papers and assignments for school, I just about swore off technology. And as a few weeks have past, I'm realizing that I need it now less than ever. I brought my computer to a Mac store to get some work done, and the guy said that he knew how I must be feeling and that he understood how hard it is to leave your computer. I chuckled and said "good riddance!"

I was watching NBC two nights ago and it was then that I realized how awful television has become. I get so angry that people are actually ok with the crap that is on tv these days - and not just that, but that they also allow their children to be exposed to it. Even with the adult material aside, the allowance of marketing to kids - outlawed in Europe, and once upon a time in the U.S) - is producing a generation who don't know the difference between wants and needs.

Ok this is just becoming a rant so I'll stop now. But I will mention three amazing books that support these arguments:



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