Tag Archives: distance learning

‘Technology’ Needs a New Name

Trying to understand how new gadgets, iPads, smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and whatever else you can name are changing the way we learn, I’m prompted again with an annoying error message: Technology.

Sure, back in the day, when regular mail became electronic, remotes were without cords, and phones could actually be carried “mobilely,” using the word ‘technology’ seemed appropriate.  It made sense to know that ‘technology’ in Greek meant ‘art,’ since we were witnessing new forms, with the world acting as its gallery.

But now, the term ‘technology’ seems too formal, sounds too weird, mechanical, a ‘technical’ abstraction— separated from reality.

Technology used in the old way reminds me of how my mother uses the word, computer.  She speaks about it as so different, distant, disjointed, and always foreign from her real world. 

But in reality, ‘technology’, is ever-present, seemingly integrated naturally into our daily lives. Emerging innovations makes it a lifetime companion, a new edition to the family, again and again. It is already a common language shared around the world, speaking many tongues with variety. 

So, I think we should find a better term to reflect just how well it functions today, labelling it in the right way to fit its continuing leading role. 

You know, if I told my mother that I will order a new refrigerator to be sent tomorrow (never reminding her that a ‘computer’ will make the order) she would appreciate how it made her life easier, rather than having to make a special trip all-the-way to Sears.


Have Any Thoughts about Online Learning?

Computer Problems

2010© Image from BigStockPhoto.com

With the emergence of online distance learning from Kaplan, Walden, Capella, University of Phoenix and others in the distance learning field, I’m left wondering, is it ALL worth it?

Perhaps, I should make a clear distinction in the ways to learn online; as pursuing a degree being one way of learning, while using Google, Wikipedia, or receiving RSS feeds as other sources of online learning.

What troubles me overall is that what may seem convenient in terms of using online resources, regardless of the reason, that it can make us overlook our real need. Just like the invention of the microwave was great, but it still didn’t solve the basic choice of what to eat.  Many of us have cell phones where we can presumably get in touch with anyone we wish, wherever we are.  This too didn’t answer the question of who is worth calling, for what reason, and why it is important to call now.

My mixed thoughts are the same with online learning.  In fact, if you are reading this blog, this is a form of online learnig (so keep reading); but my point is that with the supposed ease of online, are we masking other issues, regardless of the environment.  So much so, that the cost of some online learning programs can be just as costly as being there in person.

What I’m saying: Let’s think about the need, before the method.  Ask yourself first, what is my reason I need to learn this? I mean the REAL reason.  Then look at all the different ways to satisfy that need.  Weigh it with your personal learning preferences (I will talk about that in a posting later) to decide what’s best for you.

I’m going to try out my own advice too…LEARNLONG!