I've been thinking lately about my philosophy of technology. What do I mean? Well, I have deliberately chosen to avail myself of some of the latest in technology, and have assiduously avoided other fads. I am very conscious of the choices I make regarding the use of technology, and I want to insure that I rule it, it doesn't rule me. My fear is that technology can creep into our lives little by little, and rob us of our intellectual initiative, our ability to problem solve, even our ability to think. This is a fear I have for myself, which is why I avoid some kinds of technology, and it is a fear I have for my students.
Here is one example. One of my students recently showed me how with Microsoft Word one can enter in information and a parenthetical citation and Works Cited page will be automatically generated. I teach my composition students how to do parenthetical citations, and how to compose a Works Cited page, and most of them are unfamiliar with this feature in Word. Hence my dilemma - do I continue to teach them as I have been doing, making them think, use the book or the Purdue OWL online website, or do I teach them the feature in Word, that creates it for them? Or do I use some combination of the two? I'm undecided. A student still must enter in the correct information in the correct places, and find the correct MLA version.
Example number two involves Google. When a student doesn't know the answer to something, he or she 'googles' it. I use Google myself, quite often in fact, but I'm afraid that my students are not aware of all the other places one can find information -- books, libraries, other people, reliable websites.
One last example, for now, is the GPS. My husband bought us a GPS for Christmas. I pride myself on my ability to read a map and find my way to places I've never been, and my sense of direction is usually good. But I have used the GPS, and I must say, I like it. However, I don't depend on it. I still have directions, through mapquest, or a person, or a map, and I use it to make sure I'm going in the right direction, in the vicinity of my destination.
This is part one of my philosophy. For part two I will write about why I have chosen not to open a Facebook account or use a Smart Phone. I'd love to hear about your philosophy of technology. Or if you don't have one - why not develop your own!