Why Technology is not always “The Answer” A Rant…

I don’t think I need a disclaimer for this post when It’s going to be a rant. You have been sufficiently informed.

Since getting back from Burkina I am honestly fed up with the reliance on technology at home. Everyone is plugged into the internet and with new regulations about the FAA now allowing electronic devices on flights it seems that you can be plugged in anywhere or anytime.

But what happens when that technology doesn’t work? In BF I was used to spotty phone network coverage, no internet, and no electricity. Even when I had power and electricity, it often cut out. There were many times when I went to Ouahigouya only to find that the internet was cut, or I was in the middle of doing work and there was an outage.

The thing is…I was used to it. That was my set of expectations. But here in the US, everyone expects things to work all the time, even me.

Last week in one of my classes we had an online quiz. This class uses a textbook with online activities, including quizzes, exams, videos, flash cards, and practice tests to help students learn. That’s all fun and good except when it doesn’t work. We were told to bring our laptops to class and to take the quiz online. None of us knew that we were supposed to watch videos as part of this quiz, and what happens when 100+ students are using a wireless connection to take a quiz and load videos? Technical difficulties occurred. We were quizzed on a majority of material from the online resources only, including videos that would not load because the wireless router was overloaded.

I really honestly don’t see what’s so great about online textbooks. I think that educationally speaking,videos are a nice addition to traditional instruction but should not be relied on for sole quiz material. The quiz is rescheduled due to the technical difficulties, and I plan to take it while plugged into an ethernet connection.

The frustrating thing is I am trying to use these videos and online materials to study and I cannot even get to the online textbook because the system is down. Why does everything have to be online? Our course website has a lot of useful tools already and is fairly easy to use, but this online textbook is a pain.

Sometimes I just wish that we as Americans were not as dependent on technology and could go off the grid. Being off the grid was one of the best parts of my Peace Corps experiences, and it is quite liberating.

I guess that you can’t always get what you want.

2 responses to “Why Technology is not always “The Answer” A Rant…

  1. You tell ’em Sara! Great evaluation of our society – way too dependent on technology!

  2. There’s something absolutely wonderful about being off the grid, but at the same time, it carries limitations. I’ve experienced this in BF and even state-side when I turn off my phone for work. Phone’s off, that’s normal for work and people should understand, but then I get people who complain that I didn’t call them back when they called and left a message (Interestingly, my phone doesn’t always alert me when I’ve got a voicemail!).

    Perhaps Napoleon Dynamite says it best…http://youtu.be/ERCzN91JicA

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