Back in the early 1980s, my parents bought a Commodore 64. My brothers and I thought it was awesome. We waited about an hour for a game to load and we probably played it for 20 minutes. I remember using “The Print Shop” to create birthday invitations on our dot-matrix printer, printed on purple paper! As other families bought the latest and greatest Atari console, our family continued to upgrade their computer, moving onto an Amiga 500 and other models that escape my 33-year-old memory.
My parents chose awesome when they bought o u r f i r s t c o m p u t e r . I d i d n ‘ t k n o w i t t h e n a n d I ‘ m n o t s u r e i f t h e y k n e w i t t h e n , but it was a decision that would affect my life-long l e a r ni ng journey like nothing else. I’m not saying computers and technology is the be-all and end-all of life – family, friends and laughter is what makes life worth living – but technology surrounds me in everything I do and learn and I’ve been familiar with that technology my whole life .
I don’t own an iPad, I don’t own a Mac, I rarely use Skype and yet people often ask me how to use these things and I give them advice on how to use it. Windows releases a new operating system, or their latest Office package and I rush out to buy it and start clicking away like a madwoman to find out what’s new and what sucks (usually a lot of the latter IMHO). Just this week, Posterous updated their website and iPhone app – did I panic? A little but again, I started clicking away madly to see what was new. When I’m unfamiliar with the technology, I’m not afraid to click randomly; I Google and I watch YouTube tutorials to learn how to use it. I think I’ve completed about 20 hours of official training in specifically using technology. My degree is in teaching, not technology. Nowhere in my house is there a piece of paper accrediting me with any technology know-how of any kind. And yet, I work as an IT Integrator, helping teachers to integrate technology into their daily classroom routines and long-term planning.
I’m comfortable with technology, I love change (even when it’s bad) and I know I wouldn’t be doing a job I love if my parents hadn’t bough that Commodore 64 back in the 1980s. The 1980s!!! That seems like an eon ago – funnily enough, the Powerhouse Museum recently had an exhibition devoted to the 1980s and there inside a glass case, was a Commodore 64. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – memories from my childhood were in a museum (even Rainbow Brite was there). The Internet as we know it today (using a browser and all that jazz) has now been around for the best part of 15 years and I’ve been using it the whole time, celebrating every change and learning every day. For me, it all started with that bulky brown screen and cassette machine. Thanks Carolina and Raymondie, you chose awesome, whether you knew it or not.
I’m interested to know how other people developed an interest and/or sense of familiarity with technology. What ‘hooked’ you?