Sunday, January 28, 2007

Happy Digital Immigrant, That's Me!

This was written on January 18, 1007, in anticipation of posting to my upcoming blog. I was in the town where I grew up, while my dad, age 94, was hospitalized after a fall. I showed up just in time for an ice storm.

Even though I was completely housebound yesterday due to icy steep roads leading to Dad's neighborhood, I was not lonely. I was able to touch base with my students and also heard directly from colleagues in 25 states. That was via LM_NET, TLC, and EDTECH listservs. People were responding to my queries about listservs and their value. I got many wonderful messages, and will use them in an upcoming column that I write for Multimedia&Internet@Schools, called Belltones.

Suffice it to say I love listservs!

A lot of press is given these days to the terms “digital immigrant” and “digital native.” Natives are youngsters born in recent years who have never known a world without digital technology. Immigrants are folks like me who remember a past without all of today's wonderful gizmos and thus must “immigrate” to new ways of thinking and doing things. I think it is exciting to be an immigrant! Because I can remember a world not only without computers but also lacking such ubiquitous conveniences as air conditioning and television, I am able to get a thrill out of the little, and of course big, things that technology makes possible. So onward and upwards immigrants! We should all be glad to learn new things in this rapidly changing 21st century. Here are some things that I get a kick out of:

· I am alive because of a little gizmo about the size of a nickel, called a St. Jude's mechanical mitral heart valve. Without open heart surgery in 2000 to install this gadget, I was on schedule to die within two years of my initial diagnosis. That would have been 2002. Since my surgery I have been to London three times teaching study abroad, took students to New York and DC, and last summer took a group to Ireland. This past month I was happily hiking on the Oregon Coast, I work full time, and in no way find my heart issue to inhibit my life. Before surgery I could not climb a flight of stairs without stopping to catch my breath.

· During treatment and preparation prior to surgery, I found an online support group called, sponsored by Cleveland Clinic. Because of the advice and encouragement of others who had been through open heart surgery for heart valve replacement, I learned that this procedure, while challenging, is not a terrible fate. Instead it is an opportunity to regain an active life. Support groups such as this exist to help folks through almost any health challenge one can imagine. When my husband was being treated for lung cancer, I found a group for cancer caregivers, and just recently I found a group for children whose parents are aging and experiencing issues with health, independence, morale, etc. So hooray for support groups!

· I love my cell phone! I was at one time one of those people who “hated” cell phones but I am a complete convert. Today I was able too keep in touch with my brother while we went through the process of trying to find rehab care for Dad. Last night when I lost power during the ice storm, I used my cell to call in the outage. Didn't get power until this morning but that's another story. Also, my daughter and I send pictures back and forth and just recently I have become an avid texter.

· Digital cameras are another favorite thing that comes to mind. My daughter's new phone has such a good one that she no longer uses her “old” KoolPix. I have a Casio Exilim which is two years old, and am Jonesing for a new one! But this particular little camera has been with me to Ireland, Mexico, New York, DC, California, Oregon, and points in between. It fits easily in my jeans pocket and goes where I go. What would I do without it is a question I don't like to contemplate.

· I am typing this on a cool little tablet computer. It is about the size of a regular piece of copy paper. When it is in the closed position I can write notes in longhand. Now I have it open so I can type on the full keyboard. It weighs about 3 pounds and is a handy companion. I especially like it for conferences and meetings when I do take notes with the stylus. The hospital has wifi so I am online at Dad's bedside while he snoozes before supper. Incidentally, like all patients, meals are a big deal to him and I already know he will eat his institutional fare with gusto. Did I mention he is 94? He already wants to break out of this joint.

· Ooooh! I must mention one more gadget before I quit, unless supper iPod! Right now I am listening to Jasper Fforde's The Fourth Bear, 2nd in his Nursery Crimes series. It has me laughing out loud, as did his first in the series, the one about Humpty Dumpty. If you have not picked these up, do yourself a favor and get them. I listened to both but the many references to stories and rhymes makes you want to read as well. I actually bought the hard copy of Humpty after listening to it. I got the little microphone, iTalk, for my iPod and with that I record messages and explanations to share with my students via BlackBoard. Wherever I happen to be I just save my voice files and then upload with iTunes and then add the file where I need it. So hooray for iPods

1 comment:

  1. Digital Immigrant . . . what a great term! I guess I would be a digital immigrant as well, since I actually took typing in high school, and I don't think many schools even have typewriters anymore.

    I too love my iPod, and am now a convert to Apple. I have both an iMac and a Powerbook.