Tuesday, April 08, 2014

They're Got Us Surrounded

Sitting in this room, one that used to be an elementary school auditorium/gymnasium, with a Google Chromebook on my lap, I am acutely aware of all the computing that is going on around me. This place used to be an elementary school, but now it has been transformed into a training site. It is a place where professionals such as myself can go and learn the latest and the greatest about what we need to teach our kids about technology. It's everywhere. Even if there weren't tables lining the room with vendors from all manner of educational software and hardware devices and programs, the chairs are filled with people tapping away on keyboards and screens of various sizes, sending messages to themselves or others, hoping to make a connection with something that will make their jobs easier.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That's what the guy who invented the HAL 9000 computer said. That means I'm sitting in a room full of magic. Or what appears to me as magic, since I still cringe at the idea of unsecured wireless networks and files that can't be found on my own personal gigantic hard drive. What is this cloud of which you speak? Why should I trust that when I press "enter," this work I've just created won't simply disappear in a puff of smoke, instead of landing safely in a gigantic hard drive of someone else's invention? 
HAL is out there, doing his best to make sure that our mission is a success. I have the utmost enthusiasm for this mission. Of course, HAL now sounds a little more lot Siri, or even Scarlett Johannsson. All of these entities are totally helpful and every bit as pervasive as that useful little red line under that word I just misspelled, but I wonder how much longer we all have to wait before we bow down to our robot overlords. That or the impeding zombie apocalypse, after which all these battery powered devices and things with wires will become useful primarily for shoving into the gaping jaws of the flesh-eating creatures that surround us. 
Or maybe it's all tied together. The zombie apocalypse has come and we're all just living quietly through it, with our earbuds squished firmly into place and our eyes glued to the screen in front of us. 
When I looked back up, I saw a few groups of people, looking at one another in the eye and having conversations in the way I remember them: the free flowing exchange of ideas without Al Gore's Internet. It makes me wonder why we can't reach kids in the same way. 
Maybe I should write a blog about it. 

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