I Hear Technology's Winged Chariot

10 INPUT "What is your name: ", U$
20 PRINT "Hello "; U$
30 INPUT "How much technology do you want: ", N
40 S$ = ""

50 FOR I = 1 TO N
60 S$ = S$ + "*"
90 INPUT "Do you want to stay on the cutting edge? How much more tech? ", A$
100 IF LEN(A$) = 0 THEN GOTO 90
110 A$ = LEFT$(A$, 1)
120 IF A$ = "Y" OR A$ = "y" THEN GOTO 30
130 PRINT "Time to get out of technology "; U$
140 END

Back in 1980, I was teaching ninth graders about programming in BASIC on Radio Shack TRS 80 Model 1 computers.  It was educational technology at the cutting edge. I loved reading about what the next hot tech thing was going to be and getting into it as soon it was available.

Most of my fellow teachers weren't into it, so it was easy to be at the edge. Even though I was an English teacher, I was the one who had carried the box of punch cards in college to my COBOL class. (Once I dropped that box and spilled the cards. That was a sad day.) I wasn't a "programmer." I liked using the technology to DO something. I realized that other people were better at it and would write the programs that we would use.

I got to transition to a new Windows machine in 1985 from MS-DOS. That fall, the art teacher in my school got the first Macintosh. It made the two Apple IIe computers in my classroom seem so old. I started building Hypercard stacks on his machine.

It wasn't just computers. I had gotten a Masters in film and video, so I got to teach and play with all the new video cameras, reel to reel decks, Betamax, VHS, 3/4" video editing systems. Very expensive teaching tools.

And when the Net hit schools, I made the first school website in my district, trained other teachers, started posting my materials online, created multimedia presentations and crude animations. We moved an Amiga 2000 into the TV studio to do graphics.
When I moved to higher education, I was coming in at the start of WebCT. I worked with many online courses. Had to improve my web skills, learn some PHP, MySQL, do Flash, encode video and stay close to the edge. But it was getting harder to stay at that edge.

It was still within sight. I was early into Moodle, wikis, blogs and podcasting. I got to launch iTunes U for NJIT in January 2007. I caught the Web 2.0 wave.

In 2008, I moved to another college and now I am more involved in writing and less in tech. I am falling behind. I am behind on mobile, digital storytelling, and virtual worlds. I don't really care about Twitter. I have no desire to own a iPhone. I find code rather boring.

I can hear technology's winged chariot at my back. Of course, that's a really old literary allusion. It is from "To his Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell, but it's pretty close to the mark on how I feel these days about technology in education.

Had I but world enough and time...

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
read the entire poem

I'm falling behind - but I don't care much about keeping up any more. There is so much technology available that isn't being used well already, that I am far more interested in the application of the technology than in the technology itself.


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