I thought I would take a moment to have us step back and reflect. While digging through some files, I came across this article that I wrote in 1999, hard to believe that this was written over 14 years ago! Even though the software is outdated (I was pushing email!), it is even harder to believe that the simple advice is still relevant. I hope this gives you a moment to reflect and to think about your use of technology and ways to improve it, not only for educational integration but for overall efficiency. Teachers need time and technology can be the key to unlocking this precious commodity!
Who Needs Technology?
Written for local newspaper – February, 1999 – Park City, Utah
For those who have not yet hopped on the computer train, there are often questions about why they would ever need technology anyway. And for those who are using a computer, the question is, what else could they be using it for? How can technology make your life easier?
Let’s talk about some of the ways in which to assess whether technology should be something you consider, and what needs you have if it is.
Two good rules to remember:
Computers only make life easier after making it harder first. Plugging in a brand new computer with all of the bells and whistles will not immediately make you an expert. Expect to take time to learn your way around the system software, assess your software needs, input information and then conquer learning how to manipulate the programs. Depending on your needs and the time that you put into training, the computer may take up to six months to start saving you time.
They never work when you’re in a rush. Just like the copy machine at work breaks down when you have a big job deadline, computers are notorious for detecting when you are pressed for time. Don’t plan on putting in all of your financial information on April 14th and expect it all to run smoothly for taxes the next day. If you have an interview, trying to print out a resume five minutes before will surely end in frustration and disaster.
If you keep these two things in mind, computers can make life easier and make you more professional and organized.
Assessing your needs and whether technology is right for you:
Question: Are you constantly struggling with tracking your check book, mortgage, bills? Would you like you know where all of that money is going?
Currently: Are you using a pencil and paper? Does it work? How much time does it take you?
If it’s frustrating on paper: Intuit’s Quicken software or Microsoft’s Money may help you to get organized. After a fair amount of time inputting information you will find that these programs give you great returns in the way of reports and tax preparation.
Question: Are you in need of something or someone to create fliers, postcards, business cards, etc.?
Currently: You have someone creating them for you or you are writing them by hand.
Spending too much money or time: Microsoft Publisher or a similar program may be the answer. Especially with pre-made documents ready for you to use.
Question: Is everyone asking you for your e-mail address?
Currently: You are using the phone a lot.
Spending too much money on phone bills and time playing phone tag: It may be time to connect to the Internet and use e-mail. Quick and easy e-mails make it simple to communicate without the bills and phone fuss. Just think – you can relay a message to family members without 50 questions!
The three things that most often lead people to buy a computer are those I have questioned, finances, desktop publishing and e-mail. Of course, the computer can do a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Assess your needs and see what you come up with. Not everyone needs or wants a computer but the price is right if you are thinking it’s time!