Friday, 17 February 2012

Jane Adams: (Almost) Technological Musings


Is it Spring yet? Please say yes, I’ve had enough grey days and a soggy garden that I can’t do anything with. It’s all a bit depressing.

And I’m late posting the blog today – technology biting back again. I think my computer needs reinstalling, my mobile phone just died and the kettle has sprung a leak – that’s maybe not actually technology, seeing as it’s the old fashioned, whistling kind, but I’m co-opting it as the ‘third thing’ just in case. So it looks as though it’s going to be a tech heavy weekend, doing all the stuff I’ve been putting off, like archiving photographs and clearing out the junk that seems to proliferate.

Do I really need that lesson plan from 2004?

Makes me think, though. I now find it hard to think about the time pre computers and pre internet. I just use it so much, almost without thinking in fact. We were recently internet-less for a few days and all suffering from the most radical of withdrawal symptoms. No email, no ability to ‘google’ the question. Yes, I still rely very heavily on libraries and books and other more traditional methods of finding things out, but it’s all so much quicker. You think it, you ask, you get a response.

Even in the classroom, the attitude to and acceptance of mobile technology has radically changed the way I teach. It used to me that all mobile phones were switched off and out of sight and while I still don’t allow texting and general calls to friends! the fact that at least half of my students will have access to the internet has created access to yet another teaching tool. If I don’t know something, we can find it out together by looking it up. If someone has come across an interesting author or website, they can direct their peers to it – and me! I’m always happy to find something new. And this has radically shifted the dynamic. It also means we can share resources, pictures, ideas, get feedback and so on in a really informal and expressive way. I recently took three groups of students on a walk, looking at history close to the University and the way the city is redefining itself in, particularly between the campus and the canal. Lots of demolition and stalled redevelopment and inspiration for writing. I found afterward that the different groups had pooled their photos and notes and exchanged ideas outside of the workshops, which is great.

Ok, so I know I’m largely preaching to the converted, here, but I do find it interesting because it has all happened so fast in real terms. I’ve just signed a contract with Severn House for a new book in the Naomi series and, of course, there is now a, ebook clause in the contract. It is short, succinct and comprehensible. I vividly remember the first time such a clause found its way into a contract. It held things up for nearly six months on an American rights deal because no one could quite get to grips with the definition of electronic rights. Once they did, it ran to more than a page of gobbledygook and added a final clause that said something like ‘and anything else not yet invented, a clause which my –then- agent scrubbed out.

It’s exciting. Most exciting, maybe, is that potential for the ‘anything not yet invented’ – so long as they don’t invent it too soon; I really am still playing catch up.

No photograph today. MY computer isn’t cooperating, so I’m not able to get to picture files. I guess it’s at that sulky toddler stage of wanting some attention, then it will all be fine. So, actually despite what I said before, I hope the mizzle lasts for the weekend then I won’t be tempted out into the garden and instead will give the poor thing the attention it so desires. Who knows what strange and mysterious files I’ll find in the process….

3 comments:

CallyPhillips said...

Total sympathy... can't live with them, can't live without them.
I have a question (non googlable I think) which is - do ALL the kids you teach have smart phones? Because I wonder how this new found technological opennes (which sounds good in educational environment and good way of them using technology) squares with the kids from poorer backgrounds - the ones who used to be laughed at for not the right trainers... or am I out of date and this doesn't exist any more and I am the only person in the world who is smarter than their phone? GOOD OLD NOKIA... I only use my mobile for texting and as a replacement for a wach... oh, and now I listen to the radio to it a bit as well... it's smarter than I'm making out! Internet though... no way. I stay welded to one of my 6 computers!

CallyPhillips said...

Total sympathy... can't live with them, can't live without them.
I have a question (non googlable I think) which is - do ALL the kids you teach have smart phones? Because I wonder how this new found technological opennes (which sounds good in educational environment and good way of them using technology) squares with the kids from poorer backgrounds - the ones who used to be laughed at for not the right trainers... or am I out of date and this doesn't exist any more and I am the only person in the world who is smarter than their phone? GOOD OLD NOKIA... I only use my mobile for texting and as a replacement for a wach... oh, and now I listen to the radio to it a bit as well... it's smarter than I'm making out! Internet though... no way. I stay welded to one of my 6 computers!

Jane A Adams said...

I'm working with first and second year University students, most of whom keep a smart phone as a pet. I know what you're saying, but technology seems to be the one thing that's actually come down in price. I've just bought a replacement for my now dead phone, an-admitedly basic- smart phone, unlocked, for much less than even a cheap pair of trainers. I don't know about the situation in schools. I imagine the standard level of persecution still reigns there, if not over trainers of phones, then something or other :-(.