Technology peeves

access denied imageImage: Dreamstime

It used to be the Access denied was the most constant and regular annoyance you got with technology. Now we have a whole raft of annoyances to choose from. For some it’s the constant notification interruptions. For others it’s the constant spam and cold calls.

As soon as the New Year was rung in , I had non stop cold calls on my home phone and mobile phone. Over Christmas there had been a cease fire. I realised we still haven’t dealt  with this and it ought not be hard given most of the numbers are well documented on number look up sites as nuisance calls. The scams are getting worse, though and the people are becoming brazen. It’s a global problem which needs addressing as a matter of urgency.

Then there are the apps which suddenly won’t work wither because you have changed devices and the apps were not installed properly or they are no longer registered with the organisation for which the app has been created. So off you go re downloading things and then waiting in call queues.

Printers are probably the biggest annoyance. It is cheaper to buy a printer than the ink to fill one. You do not often need a printer these days but when you need one , you really need one. We need a better way of managing printers for those who might need one once or twice a year. The cost of printing a couple of sheets of paper is ridiculous and given ink dries up…not very clever of us.

Tech-Funnel has its top 10 pet peeves. Theirs includes so connections. Oh yes…watching the infinite wheel of death spin and spin and spin…MakeUseOf has its top technology annoyances and it includes passwords. Yes! Endless amounts of passwords and then you have to change them when you just mastered remembering them.

2019. I think we need to get onto these annoyances and make a real effort to a) make a very clear list of what annoyances we have with technology b) do something about it to make it a better technology world. We can all do this. We need to rectify  it because, truth is, we’d be lost without our technology.

 

Puzzle Craft 2

Puzzle Craft 2This game has got me really challenged at the moment. I have 6 villages and am up to level 119. At this stage it all plays out in a very complex way. I can’t easily collect resources. I can’t easily make game coins. I can’t easily do what I think I should be doing and so I do what I can. That’s a first for this game. It is hard and I am really having to think. I am using two villages to try and get experience points and resources . Without the resources you don’t have sufficient tools. The bigger game boards can deplete you of your game coins just so you can finish the board. I can’t easily collect animals so I can get the new one released. It is interesting how much the game has changed and how alert I have to be. Sometimes I just have to resign myself to losing game coins because I need to get rid of the rats or free up the board to play it to the finish. I gather the resources and within two minutes they are gone on tools so you can play another board. In the sea port village I can’t trade successfully necessarily so that is not something I can rely on to build resources. Sometimes the tools from the magic portal help and sometimes not. I have to get a lot of experience points at this stage to get the next award. That’s the thing. There are cups to collects, banners, resources to gather, buildings to build, money to make, trading to do and all the while I have to stay in control of your assets. Phew! It really makes me work on strategy. I use two water games. One in the 5th village  mainly to build resources I can sell . Sometimes I need them to unlock animals, fruit or plants. In the 6th village I have the pirate ship to contend with. My nemesis. I hate it. It forces me to play that board as a victim. I do get coins now when I defeat it but I had to focus on getting that building built so I got the coins. Meanwhile the pirate ship just blows all my game coins away until I can manoeuvre my own boat to defeat. it. I so want that cannot in the fort but have a few buildings and a stockpile of resources to gather. There are days I just ignore that board. Nothing else in the game forces me to be a victim. Everything else gives me a chance to think my way out. The pirate ship? I am on the board, I can do nothing and I just hope I can get in the right position to get rid of the ship. Meanwhile I have used up navigation and sailing moves which I could have used to get resources. It’s amazing how much this game has changed since I first started playing it. I really am at the stage where I have to think out everything and there is no simple answer. Every resolution to the challenges the game poses has to be thought out . It’s why I like the game even when I am not liking it!! I don’t want a game where I do the same thing, I repeat the same tasks , I move in the same pattern and I just am basically in a holding pattern. There is no real growth. Puzzle craft 2 grows and I am growing with it and I have to change to be able to keep playing it. As I said before, it’s a good game to develop flexible thinking and neuroplasticity.

Taming technology

Simplifying our use of technology really is a first world problem. We are spoiled for choice with technology , whether we are talking about hardware , software or services. In global terms we are not really overwhelmed by the weight of technology in our lives. Truly, others have far more demanding issues to confront on a daily basis. Nevertheless, there are people who are genuinely becoming stressed by the constant demands of technology and there are people who are being pushed to the wall by the constant requirement to be connected or to access technology. We really need to use our critical thinking skills when it comes to technology and the video sums it up as these 5 steps:

Formulate a question
Gather information
Apply information
Consider implications
Explore other points of view.

The website Inc probably sums up the increasing encroachment of technology on our time:

“After you’ve checked SMS, WhatsApp, voicemail, email, your second email account, Facebook messages, LinkedIn messages, Twitter mentions, Twitter DMs, Quora messages, snail mail, and Slack for the third time in a given day, you’ve lost the opportunity to actually, ya know, get anything done. Narrow down the number of communications media you use, and batch process the messages that arrive, to reclaim your day,” suggests VC Patrick Mathieson.

The whole post about simplifying our lives talks a lot of common sense and it will probably strike a chord with you as it did with me. The tips recommended for simplifying your life can apply just as easily to technology as life in general. You do need to set boundaries. You do need to have reasonable expectations of others. Why should they respond immediately to your SMS or email? How many sites can a person reasonably belong to and check in a working day and if they have dependant children or older parents ? How does it help to be connected? What are the things which trigger bad responses to connectivity? How many devices do you need to use and why? Can you do more on one device? Why can’t you use the device of your choice? Have you explored the apps and sites which streamline your activities? Those are some questions to start your critical thinking.

I have been using my phone more because it is always with me. I have taken the time to learn its settings and I have improved how I do things on my phone. I check emails in the morning and again in the evening. I do not connect to emails on my phone. If I don’t want to be interrupted I turn the sound off. The pressure comes from the perception that technology is harassing you. When you feel like that and that your life is not your own you need to change the balance and make incremental changes until you reach that point where the balance of power is again in your favour. You have to change the point of critical mass until is flows your way according to your wishes. Popsugar has some nice ideas for simplifying tech use . Put the critical thinking time in so it works for you. We are lucky to have all this technology but it does need to be tamed.

It’s not working!

Oh yes. There are always times when it doesn’t work.

I can’t get onto the wifi! My blog’s blocked!!!??? I can’t post my image! My iPad is dead! My iPad is upgrading and stuffed! I can’t load the site! I can’t upload my work! I have been waiting for HOURS and my iPad/computer is doing nothing. I forgot my login!

There is a whole chorus of not working variations. It applies to me too.

Sorry, I can’t seem to load the class list. Sorry, the board won’t connect. Sorry , there’s no sound.

You could let it all fall apart. You could blame technology. You could just have a hissy fit and melt in a spectacular public display. If my technology isn’t working I have a whole head full of little things we can do to fill in the time. We can do verbs, numbers, answer questions, tell me what they did this morning , think of all the things we can that are red. By then I am usually right. Nothing usually goes on for that long. If necessary I swap activities. The great thing about technology is I have lots of options. As for the students , we ask questions. Did you connect and reconnect? Did you shut down and start again? Do you want to borrow an iPad? Let me have a look. Most times I can talk them through it and we can resolve the issues. If it is a curly problem then we brainstorm quietly and calmly together . When we run out of options or time then our technicians have magical technician fingers which resolve 99.5% of our problems. This video reminds us to use these moments to learn because we are teachers.

There is always the one…

the oneThere is always the one:

  1. The one who has not done their homework
    The one who can’t log in
    The one who has forgotten their password
    The one whose iPad is flat
    The one who has no battery power on their laptop
    The one who forgot the note
    The one who can’t find the file
    The one who cannot upload their work
    The one who forgot to upload their work
    The one who does their version of the assignment…

There are lots of ones and with technology they are there to test your skills. Do you have policies? Do you have work arounds? Can you problem solve? Are you open to new ideas? The one who does their own version of the work needs a conversation about work expectations but more often than not, they are the student who will show you a different approach using technology. Problems with the ones using technology are a good way to teach it because it is needs based. It helps them to learn to be independent. There are times when you have to breathe in and breathe out slowly but most of the time these ones are good value in terms of teacher training and enhancement.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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