Why are “they” so afraid of technology?

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I often find myself asking this question over and over again, “Why are people so scared of technology?” I don’t know about you all but this is a problem that I run into daily.  Don’t get me wrong, some people I know really love it and will embrace it, but others… my only guess is that they think they are going to break the computer / technology. As a high school teacher I push the topic of “emerging technologies” almost daily in class. The image above is one that I took in class of a student’s notes that they wrote out, photographed, and then imported into their Evernote account for review. The students, for the most part, seem to understand of working smarter and harder.  Some students have embraced the idea of using the technology as a tool, while other students… well, let’s just say their idea of using technology is playing games on the computers or scrolling through Twitter and other social media sites. This might be hard to believe but I have students who don’t know how to put paper in a printer. I know it sounds crazy since “all kids are into technology” but I have to tell you that is just not true. On the other side I see teachers day in and day out expect these kids to be way more advanced then they are but the teachers themselves are too scared to use the technology themselves. The other day a teacher was telling me how difficult it was getting photos from students and I mentioned the use of hashtags on Twitter. As some of you may know, high school aged kids are not using Facebook as much as you think. They have moved over to other social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram. I wanted to remind the teacher that he could just request the students to hashtag their photos and then the teacher could just grab them offline. The teacher actually placed his fingers over his ears and said “This is too much. I’m not listening!” If you are familiar with hashtags you know how easy this task would be. If you are not, do me a favor and try this one thing for me:

  1. review the following twitter page: https://twitter.com/hashtags  (you do not have to have a twitter account to view)
  2. review the following WikiHow page: http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Hashtags-With-Twitter
  3. If you have a twitter account try going to: http://www.twitterfall.com/ and doing a search on a hashtag. This is really awesome to do if you participating in something and/or watching something… For example I found it to be fun and interesting during the NBA Draft!

Back to the topic at hand. Why are people so afraid of technology? I have people ask me all the time about technology related questions. They always wonder how I know some much stuff about stuff. I’m honest with them and tell them that I searched for it on the internet. I have no idea why your computer keeps booting up in safe mode but after about two clicks and 5 minutes on the internet I found a forum and fixed your problem.

Is the answer as simple as the question? Are people afraid of technology because they are just simply afraid? Do they really think they are going to break the internet?  Do they think that one wrong click will give them the blue screen of death?

I guess for me, I like to take the Thomas A. Edison approach on things…. When asked about failing so many times when trying to invent the lightbulb he replied with…. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  Sometimes, not all the time, failure can be an excellent learning tool. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in “YOLO” like my students believe. I know there are consequences to our successes and failures in life. With technology, I say, go ahead, give it a try… and if something breaks… there is someone out there who might be able to fix it… hopefully that person will be you!

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