Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Technology Frustration

Do you have a lawnmower that only starts if you push that little primer button exactly 4 times, and pull the cord really hard three times fast?  Maybe you have a door that doesn't close unless you lift up on the handle a bit, or a drawer that sticks unless you pull it all the way out before closing it, or a TV remote that only works when you aim at the top left corner?  Chances are, there are all kinds of things like that in your life, and you don't even notice them.  

Why, then, do we freak out, throw a fit, get frustrated, and abandon an otherwise worthy technology tool if it doesn't perform exactly as expected every single time?  

For me, technology can be more frustrating than those other things because I don't understand why it isn't working.  I can clearly see that the door won't close because the latch isn't aligned with the hole it is supposed to fit into.  I know that when it's cold outside, my car door on my Taurus might not close without a little WD-40 to help the mechanism move down over the little post that holds it closed.  But when some piece of technology that works 99% of the time suddenly doesn't, it just irks me!  

I mean, machines are supposed to work the same way every single time, unless something changes from the time they last worked to the time they don't.  If nothing has changed, there is no logical explanation for why it suddenly doesn't work.  It's maddening.  It isn't like it has feelings and decides not to work.  It isn't broken.  No one broke into the computer and manipulated the code.  It just worked this time, and not this other time.  Argh!  

But I keep using the tools, or find one that works better.  I don't give up trying altogether.  

An inevitable part of using any kind of tool is dealing with the sometimes frustrating times that it doesn't work.  When I was teaching, we had dry erase markers and a dry erase whiteboard.  I didn't see tons of teachers hesitating or refusing to adopt that method of writing on the board simply because the markers occasionally dried out.  We just planned ahead and had extra markers around.  

If using technology tends to frustrate you more than anything else that doesn't work sometimes, it might be because you're thinking of it differently than what it really is.  It's just a tool.  Like a lawnmower that is hard to start.  It's still a much better way of cutting the grass than getting out there with your scissors.  The effort of that extra pull to get it started is worth it.

In the classroom, there are tools that are just that much better than the way we've done things in the past.  Give up your scissors and give the lawnmower one more pull.  It will be worth it.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder. This reminds me of my email signature: "Commitment is not just doing what is required. It is extra. Commitment is extra time, extra work." -Tom Crean. In the long run, it is better than what we had in the first place. Love the background!