Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Wait! There Are Words On The Screen!! Do I Read Them!?!

To risk sounding like a reject from some bad stand up comedy tour, what is it with people and technology?

Last week I handed palms to my biggest class (go here for the backstory on the grant that gives us this chance). My day was already sketchy. I dropped (not spilled, dropped) my coffee on my desk and myself this morning and endured a sophomore class assembly in Hades. However, I want to start using them in class and I had everything ready so I began the task.

Then came the stupid questions! And all of them had the same answer!!!
q: It says to reset!!!
a: Then hit the button that says reset.

q: It's making me digitize!!
a: Go with that

q:It says to take the card out!!!
a: Ok, try taking the card out.

There is no way for me to sound kind at those comments. I get them from kids and adults. Somehow being in the presence of a machine makes normally intelligent folks freeze up all slackjawed over the buttons.

When I taught technology classes for my district, I would start every class with a sort of mantra (really, I did). "I cannot hurt the computer unless I hold it over my head and throw it on the ground". "I am not stupid, the computer is stupid (we'd repeat that last one often)". Once getting over that fundamental fear, people could proceed with button pushing.

I might have asked this before, but how does this make me smarter than anyone else? The only differences between me and anyone else is that I refuse to fear the buttons and refuse to say "Oh, my! I just have my husband do that!" (and yeah, ok, I don't say the second one because I can't and I won't lie that when I read Heather's thank you on Dooce to her husband for cooking up the CSS for her blog I did sigh a bit and wish I had me a CSS writin' knight in shining armor--but I could learn it! I could!! I think this is my longest parenthetical note on record)

I feel a bit mocked at times like these and really seems to be the most concrete example I have for anti intellectualism. I hate that teachers will at one moment advocate life long learning and then in the same breath call me to show them how to print or the media specialist to turn on the VCR.

Hey, life long learner, friggin push the buttons! And you, mister! Cook me up some CSS!!!!

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