Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Technology in my Education!

I can't believe that I didn't post yesterday!  I fully intended to do so, but at some point while pre-studying for the one course that has me a little panicky (Greek), I engaged with the rules of grammar so deeply, I lost my mind. 

When you're as old as (or older than) I am and haven't been to school in lo, so many years, the idea of re-engaging in a learning environment that has completely changed with all of the transformations that the computer age has brought to us is a little overwhelming!

I graduated from college in 1981 with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education.  There were no computers in our homes, in our classrooms (unless you were studying computer science - and even then, you had to go to a computer lab), much less in our phones or anywhere else.  Photocopy machines were still pretty pricey - at Coe College, we had a very, very busy print and copy center.  More than likely, the cheapest way for a professor to get a syllabus handed to the class was to have it prepared several weeks prior to the beginning of classes and it sat in a queue at the copy center waiting to be printed on a press - not a photocopier. 

Yesterday, I downloaded a 'draft' copy of a syllabus for two of the classes I will take this fall.  They were put on the internet in July, but between that point and today, the University has fully changed and upgraded their Extended Learning Classroom software and I recognize that major information in the syllabus on how to access the class information is wrong.  There will be at least one more draft until the final is delivered to us electronically at the beginning of class.

Me ... I just wanted to get my hands on the book lists so that I could find the best deal for them. 

What a trip that was!  I had also gotten a message from Cokesbury (yes, the Methodist bookstore), which is also the bookstore for the University, offering me an account.  If I set up an account they would be able to offer me the student discount, which is 20%.  Well, I'm not terribly excited about setting up an account - what a pain in my butt.  Why will they not take my credit card?  What a backwards way to do things.  It got better!

For one course, I have five books to purchase. I priced them at Cokesbury - Retail price: $151.00.  The student discount price ended up being $134.00.  I priced them at Amazon.com - $89.97.  Guess I don't need that account after all, do I!!! 

I will never complain about using technology - it's the coolest thing ever.  I love my computers and my Kindle, my Blackberry.  I want a LiveScribe (but can't see a use for it ... yet), and I am thrilled beyond belief that I can attend classes from the comfort of my own space, participate with people around the world in learning and have access to professors that fill my mind with knowledge - all because of technology.

I threw myself into the world of computers with gusto not long after I graduated from college in 1981.  By 1985, I owned one of the early Macintosh computers and by 1987 I was online, chatting with people around the country.  As soon as the internet was driven to homes, I was there, waiting each day as more and more information came online.  This transformation is simply glorious to me and I cant wait to see where it will take us.

The other day, Bill Gates said that within 5 years, the best education would be available online.  I think education should be available and accessible to everyone, no matter their location or their means.  It's going to be fun watching this grow!

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