Mar 31, 2012

Tech Stuff

My iPad on the left, and my laptop.  Photo taken with my smartphone.

I am fully a citizen of the 21st century now.  I've got my laptop and iPod nano (so last decade), but I also now have my iPad and my smartphone.

I've never been early to the tech party.  I'd always taken a perverse pride in having an out-of-fashion basic phone. I wasn't about status, I was about practicality.  The old flip phone (and the still older Nokia before that) got the job done. 

But I'm finding my snazzy new Samsung Galaxy SII gets the job done pretty well too, and does a whole heck of a lot more to boot.

Sometimes I feel like I have more technolgy than I need or know what to do with, and I actively look for ways to make my tech toys more indespensable than they already are.  After all, given what they cost they ought to take over my life, at least to a degree.

The iPad I use mainly for school (which was it's intended purpose).  Evernote is a fantastic web-based note-taking program I use every day.  It has replaced the legal pad I used for years to keep track of my day at school and in so doing, has threatened the ubiquitous clipboard that has been my inseparable companion on the job for years (My students through the years will tell you how important my clipboard was.  One class in Saipan bought me a new one as a gift, another here at CAA developed an ongoing storyline about my obessession with "Clippy" the clipboard.)  Well, now Clippy  may become obsolete.  I still use the clipboard occasionally, but between my iPad and my phone, I find there are days where it never even gets taken out of my bag.

Also on the iPad, I have been using the gorgeous periodic table app with my students. The Renweb iPhone app which I use on my iPad is wonderful for the on-the-go grading and taking attendance.  Beyond my professional life, I use the Ipad mostly to browse Facebook and Twitter and the occasional news site using Flipboard.  I watch streaming movies on Netflix and Skype on the iPad as well. I use the Bible app at church. And The Feller is an expert with the iPad, swiping through the apps with practiced ease.  He has quite a few apps just for his use.  He likes to do electronic jigsaw puzzles and memory games.  He enjoys some animal and Noah's Ark apps as well. His use of the iPad is limited to church (gone are the days of crayons and folded sheets of typing paper, now he has an electronic coloring book where colors are added at the touch of a finger) and travel (he has a number of secular apps which he uses exclusively on plane and car trips--Thomas the Train, Elmo, and Talking Tom among them.

The laptop is still probably the device I use the most.  You can't beat typing on an actual keyboard and a good word processing program for typing.  So I use my laptop for anything that requires typing:  E-mails, documents, entering most grades on Renweb, lesson plans.  In fact I use Evernote on the laptop to prepare my "Dayplan" and then mainly use either the iPad or my phone as a carry-with-me reference.

The iPod I use the least. I just don't have time to listen to music.  When I drive it's NPR (and my old car doesn't have a CD player or the built-in connection for my iPod anyway.)  So that leaves running, long trips, like the drive down to Dayton, and sometimes when I'm grading as about the only time I really listen to music.  I have a backlog of hundreds of songs sitting on iPod that I've collected from friends that I still need to review.

Last, but not least is my phone.  This one is the force to be reckoned with.  Before I was coolly indifferent to my phone.  It was a useful and indeed indispensable tool, but that was all.  But with this phone I feel something almost akin to affection.  It's menus are so familiar and comforting.  The cheerful picture I've put on of Babs and the Feller  welcomes me when ever I awaken it.  Once I swipe into the home screen, I have animated wallpaper of blades of grass waving gently in the electronic breeze against a backdrop of sky that changes in appearance to reflect the time of day--sunrise, blue sky through the day, sunset, and a starry night sky. I have my little rituals. First the weather, then zipping through my e-mail, checking Interference, and then Facebook.  Since I got my phone, I have come to spend a lot more time on Facebook.  I still don't post that often, but I'm always scanning through my news feed. I confess I have become one of those people--I do find myself pulling out my phone for no other reason than to browse.  I love my ringtones--knowing who is calling.  I love how it can do almost anything.  I use the voice command feature all the time,particularly for sending text messages. The GPS and navigational apps have replaced MapQuest for driving directions and I no longer feel a need to get a new camera--it's all right there on my phone.

I may have arrived late to the technology party, but I'm now fully in the swing of things!

1 comment:

Carmen said...

Hi, I'm a teacher and I use Renweb on my Ipad too. I was just wondering if you have any idea if the new App released this year has the lesson plan function? Because on the older version you could not do your plannings through the ipad, you still had to use the laptop. So I was just wondering that, 'cause now you have to pay for it, and before paying I would like to know if it got what I need, right? Sorry for the long question!! I'm just curious about it! :D