Friday, September 11, 2009

Curiouser and Curiouser...

Technology has played a minimal role in my life up until I started college. I grew up in a house full of PCs and I have always felt comfortable and proficient in using simple computer programs, such as Microsoft Word, Paint, Excel, and Internet Explorer. As I progressed through elementary school, middle school, and high school, I never had to challenge myself by using any technology outside of my "safe zone", i.e. Microsoft Word and perhaps the Internet. However, that all changed when I started college. My freshman year, I encountered Macs for the first time! People really understand those?? I remember opening those courageous peoples' laptops and staring blankly at the screen. What do I do next? How do I get online? I didn't take me long to get the hang of it. I actually came to admire how easily Mac users were able to simply turn on their computers! My poor old Dell Inspiron takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get booted up! And the virus software needed on a PC! I've never even seen any Norton on any MAC!

Anyway...besides encountering my first MAC my freshman year, I also had to become comfortable with the university's personal Learning Management System (LMS), Angel. Thankfully, I caught on quickly and I was able to follow my course guidelines easily and often. As well as Angel, I was also introduced to Lon-Capa. However, Lon-Capa and I have quite a strenuous relationship, so I'm going to refrain from going into too much detail there. You can ask my freshman year Chemistry professor. As the years have gone by in college, I have had surprisingly few opportunities to experiment with new and exciting technologies. My sophomore year I began to use PowerPoint on a regular basis. Sadly, I am still at a VERY low level of proficiency in that department. While I am capable of creating a simple PowerPoint, I am still unable to venture into the realm of PowerPoint creativity. Besides computer software and programs, I am very capable of handling an Mp3 player. I rarely set down my i-pod and when I do, it's merely to update my play lists, or add new music. I also own a digital camera, however, it's rarely charged, and therefore, I rarely use it. And finally, I own a cell phone, and for the first time in 23 years, it is a VERY high-tech cell phone. I'd say, it took me about..oooh...a week to fully comprehend all that it can do. I love it :)

Outside of the university environment and my own personal space, I have had a slightly broader experience in relation to technologies. I work for the Department of Natural Resources as a student intern and while working for those amazing people, I have had the opportunity to work with copiers, scanners, Micro-film machines, printers, label makers, etc. And I have also worked with many State Government computer programs. However, I don't see any of those programs preparing me for a career in teaching, so I'll move on!

I have spent a fair share of hours in different classrooms. Sadly, those classrooms were in deep trouble financially and were not able to provide their teachers or students with many different technologies. The rooms rarely had computers, let alone smart boards or projectors. The most hands on experience I received in those environments was using an overhead, or taking the class down to the computer lab to work on Mavis Beacon.

So, as you can see, I am at a very low level of proficiency in regards to using the new and hip technologies available these days. There are SO many things to learn. I would LOVE the opportunity to expand my repertoire. I have never blogged before, I'm a first timer! I have also never Tweeted. I actually have NO idea where to begin in that department. I've never created a website or a wiki. These are ALL things I WANT to learn. It is my belief, as well as the belief of many school administrators, that if you want to be a successful teacher, you MUST be comfortable using these new technologies. Not only that, but i believe that these technologies provide new and different ways in which to express yourself creatively and that is extremely important. My main goal for this semester is to learn how to create wikis and blogs and websites, all of which I can turn around and apply in my future classrooms.

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