Tuesday, February 17, 2015

All This Modern Technology

I've mentioned before on this blog that I'm a reluctant embracer of technology but I don't let it go for long before I learn about it and start using it myself.

As a teacher, I feel like I have to keep on top of all the latest technology or my students will be able to take over and I won't have a clue!  I think back to my sister's friend who somehow was able to control the VCR in the classroom with his watch and the teacher went bananas trying to figure out what was wrong with the VCR.

If you don't know what VCR is, you're too young to be reading this blog.  Run along and play or I'll tell your mother.

I was the last kid on the block to get a cell phone.  The only reason I finally caved was because of a month long trip to Europe that made me feel like I really needed to have a quick and easy way to communicate.  Without having to get a card from the local convenience store and use a pay phone because at the time, that was how you made a call in Europe.

So, in 2003, I got the cheapest phone available and went with T Mobile because they were the only company that offered an overseas plan at the time.  It's laughable today to think that I had to work hard to find a company that would let me use an American service in France!

I swore when I got home I wasn't going to continue the plan, so I didn't do a contract.  Back then, there wasn't a required commitment.  But, I also had to pay full price for my phone at that time.

Of course I kept my plan when I got home, but I'm one of those annoying people who doesn't carry their phone on them at all times.  I don't have a smartphone.  I don't have a data plan.

I still have the simplest plan I could get back in 2003 and the phone to prove it.  I can text and call and that's all I really need to do.

That isn't my original phone, but when mine croaked last year, I had to make a decision.  The school district gave us ipads, so I basically have a smartphone without the calling plan.  Did I really want to spend money to upgrade my plan and phone when I really don't need to spend any more time online than I currently do?

Nope.  I decided to go with the old flip phone and it's served me well.  And it's a fascination for my students if they see it because it's antique looking.

But the point of this post isn't to rehash my phone buying decisions.

It's to discuss people's use of phones and sharing their phones and people touching each others' phones.

I'm a little wary of germs and I believe that phones are petri dishes growing superbugs that will not only make us all sick, but will know how to use the technology on which they were bred and take over the world.   If they haven't already.

So, I don't love it when someone shoves their phone at me to look at a picture and suggests that I scroll through to look at more.  I find myself holding it like it's a Faberge egg and using only the minutest edge of the pad of my finger to scroll around.

I'm appalled when I'm in the fabric store and the cashier is handed a phone to scan the coupon that the customer just found through the app on their phone.  I see this all the time now and it just makes my skin crawl.

I remember a time when asking to borrow someone's phone was a party foul.  Now people are throwing their phones at each other like they're today's newspaper, with nary a thought about what they might be spreading all over those touch screens.

Since each student in my school has an ipad to use in school, I'm very familiar with filthy ipad screens.  You'd have to tie me up before I'd let a student touch my ipad screen, but on rare occasions, I have to touch their screens.  Like last week when they were sharing something with me in google docs and because teacher email addresses are a million characters long, I felt it was easier to just type it in myself.

And then I took myself for a booster of everything I could find because their screens felt soooooooo nasty.  I just wanted to cut my fingers right off!

We were all raised not to use anyone else's toothbrush or chew anyone's gum after it had been in their mouth.  Given what I see people do before and after swiping their screens, we might as well have one community toothbrush in public bathrooms.  It would probably be more sanitized, especially if it were a bathroom that gets sprayed with sanitizer every time someone leaves the bathroom.

I have a little confession to make:  I wipe my ipad screen( and the case it lives in) with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol on a pretty regular basis.  My friend who is a nurse practitioner told me about this trick and said it didn't ruin her ipad.  So every few days, or every day as we are in flu season, I give it a serious going on.  I'd dip it right in an alcohol bath if I could get away with it!

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