In his article, “The Terifying Truth About New Technology” Daniel Wilson states that it is not that new technology is scary it is just that we are getting old and are worried that we will not be able to assimilate new technology. Yes. I agree. In this article he talks about how his grandmother has important phone numbers taped to the back of her cellphone because she is used to having a roladex next to her phone. I get that reference! When I got married my mother hand wrote in beautiful script all my family and my husbands family’s info on cards and alphabetized them. It was a beautiful gift that I promptly transferred to a excel file by year 2 of my marriage because the English alphabet continues to elude me and I would have to flip through every card to find the one I was looking for. When my cell phone’s phone book was able to hold more than names and numbers, I moved the info to my contacts app. Now I have a hybrid of contacts that are on my phone (people I call regularly, or at least should be calling regularly) contacts on my jump drive (people who get Christmas and Birthday cards) and those left in the roledex (Sorry great Auntie Gerta, we just don’t talk anymore.) I found a way to use technology to organize my life when I was just learning about new technology. I could jump on it, learn it, use it, and break it down so that my mother could.
Wilson talks about how young children use schema in order to learn about new items. Piaget’s theory that children use an already known schema in order to learn about new things seems provable in my everyday life. Though unlike a small child my first response is not to put it in my mouth. I look up YouTube videos. There is one for everything I am pretty certain. If there isn’t a YouTube video about it then there is an eHow or a community board that can help me. I am lucky that this schema continues to grow with me, but there might be a day when YouTube is a technology of the past and I will probably revert to putting new technology in my mouth to figure out how it works.
I don’t know if this will apply to the 18-25 year old group that seems to have a new piece of tech every two months. These kids will spend their entire lives rapidly discovering or creating new technology. Being on the far end of the Millennial spectrum I do not adapt quite as quickly. Last year I switch from an iPhone to an android. I had been using iPhone since the 2 and was sick of paying more to get less and having to use systems that didn’t integrate as well with my PC as it did with my Mac. My husband who had been an android user for years happily held it over my head that I would love Android. I do…now. I like the integration with Google that I use for everything from writing papers to creating lesson plans for study groups. I like the higher quality images and it seems everything except my favorite white noise machine and Canva has an app on android. But I did not assimilate this quickly. It took about three months for me to learn how to do screen shots and find YouTube videos that were through enough to answer my questions but short enough to hold my attention. Some things I just had to learn as I went and some things my teenager had to show me. I think she put it in her mouth and it uploaded how to use all the hidden features to her brain. Even though I know my android phone if I pick up my husband’s or son’s phones that aren’t Samsung, I have no idea how to get what I need and saying “Ok Google” doesn’t bring up anything on their screens.
Not being able to process information using the same schema is a sad reality in a world that is spitting out new tech faster than most people can learn the old stuff. But that doesn’t mean that we are not going to be able to get it eventually. I learned how to use my Samsung phone and my mother finally figured out how to use Facebook seven years after I made her an account. After reading this article and viewing myself through this lens, I think I agree with Mr. Wilson…