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Posts tagged Technology

Living off the wired grid and still enjoying a connected life
November 8, 2013 | 2:21 pm

living off the gridI have never owned a computer, or a laptop or a notebook or an iPad or an iPhone or smartphone, and the only technology I have in my apartment is a TV set. Yes, I am a news junkie and I like my CNN and I like my MTV and I like all my local TV channels in Taiwan, too, even though I cannot  understand a word of what the newscasters are saying in Mandarin. But back to those things that connect us. I have never owned any kind of computer and never will. For the past two years, ever since...

The constant din is other people at breakfast checking their messages
November 7, 2013 | 4:28 pm

living with technologyIn an interview a few years ago, the British writer George Steiner spoke about "the constant din" that surrounds us 24/7 now in this postmodern high-tech world we have created. He was speaking of the need to find silence from time to time, to get away from the constant din of life and find a sane way of living with technology. And Time magazine essayist Pico Iyer later dipped into the subject and wrote a splendid op-ed in the New York Times titled "The Joy of Quiet." Steiner was asked by a young woman in the interview: "You have argued that...

Disconnecting Completely For the First Time In Years
August 26, 2013 | 3:33 pm

Everyone loves to write about disconnecting while on vacation, and about whether it's a good idea or a bad one. (Uh, yes, I do put myself in the category of loving to write about it.) Anyway, my husband and I just got back from a week-long camping trip where we disconnected completely. I'd like to say it was for some profound moral or spiritual reason, but it was actually because we were camping in a park that had no cell signal and no Wi-Fi. Can you believe it? In 2013? And we didn't leave the country. Heck, we didn't even leave...

How to Roll Out Laptops in Schools
July 29, 2013 | 4:45 pm

laptopsMediaShift has an interesting write-up about a school district in Massachusetts that's grappling with how to best roll out laptops in its schools. The article talks about the program in Natick, Mass., which involved issuing Macbooks to all students in grades eight through 12. The results have been great for students—they've spent their time "doing everything from conversing with peers in Costa Rica through Twitter in a history class, to designing and producing their own online magazines." But it hasn't been so great for the IT department employees, who've spent their time trying to reinstall content filters after students worked very...

Technology: No Big Deal Anymore?
July 16, 2013 | 3:30 pm

technologyI posted earlier about the computer shopping that's been going on in my family lately. Well, gadget lusts strikes again—the Beloved's mother showed me a 900-page doorstopper of a historical fiction novel she plans to take on an airplane with her, and I commented that it would be so much easier to just take an -ebook reader with her. There proceeded a 20-minute debate about whether she reads enough to 'justify' the purchase, and if so, what sort of purchase she should make. Privately, the Beloved and I concluded that, just as my own parents do with tech purchases, she is vastly...

Toronto Stormwatch 2013: When New and Old Technology Collide
July 9, 2013 | 11:14 am

Toronto We got walloped last night with the storm of storms—more rain in one night than we typically get in a whole month, with consequences that at one point involved police boat rescue units paddling in with dinghys to rescue 400 people who were trapped for seven hours on a flooded commuter train. Google the pictures—they are incredible! The Beloved got home, in torrential downpour, about 20 minutes before our power went, so we spent the night cuddled up together, safe but dark, keeping up with events in that strange confluence of new and old technology that characterizes this modern life of ours. Below,...

Rapid Technology Change (or, “Really? I didn’t always have an iPad?”)
July 4, 2013 | 2:52 pm

technology Occasionally, something happens to make me realize how quickly technology changes. That device we "can't live without" today probably didn't exist as little as five years ago. I still remember a question my son asked me when he was about nine: "Mom, what Gameboy games did you play when you were a kid?" He was pretty horrified when I told him my first handheld game was the Merlin (pictured to the right). My first computer was an Apple 128. (The 128 stood for kilobytes, by the way.) Everyone told my mom to buy a Commodore 64 because "we'd never need more than 64...

Wondering what to do with all those cell phone photos and digital videos? A new e-book has the answer.
April 16, 2013 | 5:56 pm

e-bookMike McEnaney spent nearly 10 years working as both an editor and a publisher of B2B photography and digital photography magazines for North American Publishing Company (NAPCO), the same organization that owns and operates both TeleRead and the Technology Tell network of websites. Very recently, though, McEnaney struck out on his own. And somehow, along with fellow journalist Greg Scoblete, he has already managed to launch Your Digital Life, a website about the digital photography revolution. McEnaney and Scoblete's latest project, however, is an e-book, also about the world of digi-photography. From Fleeting to Forever: Enjoying & Preserving Your Digital Photos and Videos, as...

Spring Cleaning: A digital junkie declutters, thanks to technology
March 14, 2013 | 12:56 pm

I wrote last year about a theory I had, namely that digitization was enabling a more minimalist lifestyle for people who wouldn't otherwise be minimalist. I could still have my books, music and movies, but they wouldn't take up space anymore. Well, I'm doing my annual March break spring cleaning this week, and I've found that a recent addition to my tech arsenal has enabled me to take it one step further. The tool? An iPhone 5 with a scanner-quality built-in camera, and the free Evernote app Evernote is my brilliant new discovery, and to my delight, I just found a 'doc scanner'...

Exploring Technology Overload with Students, Part 2
March 2, 2013 | 11:10 am

I wrote a few weeks ago about the health unit I'm doing with my Grade 2 class, exploring technology and how we can use it safely in our lives. Well, our second lesson was delayed by a snow day, so I've only now gotten around to lesson two, and it was a doozy! In our previous class, we did some brainstorming about what sorts of technology the kids use at home. For homework, I had them keep a log for two days—a school day and a weekend day. In this week's lesson, the first thing we did was tabulate the results. The students averaged...

Exploring Technology Overload with Students
February 6, 2013 | 3:28 pm

As my school's technology coordinator, part of my job is to explore the different ways our students use technology, and how that's working for us. Are there tools we are under-utilizing? Tools we are over-utilizing? Are there concerns parents have over how their kids are interacting with technology on a daily basis? I learned recently, not to my surprise, that the answer to the latter question was a resounding yes. Children are exposed to so much technology these days, and it is so compelling for them. How can we make sure they're using it responsibly? Most of my students have parents who...

Technology Overload In Education: Stop the Madness!
January 15, 2013 | 8:00 am

computer lab in an elementary schoolFresh off the heels of CES and the Polaroid Kids Tablet and the iThis and the iThat, I have a confession to make about technology in education. And here it is: We actually don't need any more technology. We don't, really! That might be a strange thing to say in this age of tech abundance, but the truth is, what we need right now is better content, not better gizmos to run them on. Let's do a roundup of the gadgets currently on hand in my school: Computer Lab This gets used—a lot—by teachers doing their prep. The older grades do have allotted...