Sunday, October 12, 2008

Actual Research

It does not seem that long ago that a Social Studies professor at CSU Bakersfield scolded me for not having a keyboard hooked to something with a hard drive. I was writing my papers with an electric typewriter that had about enough memory for 8 pages of text. As I typed, the text ran across a tiny screen on the typewriter and I was thrilled with how, at the push of a button, 8 entire pages of printed material could be printed. Of course, I had to load each piece of paper individually and replace ink cartridges as necessary, but I thought I was up to speed. Wrong!

The concerned professor approached me and suggested that my writing might improve if I were to utilize even more modern tools that were out there. I was puzzled. I had used computers before but never owned one, and I could not imagine how such a device could really change how I wrote. I was accustomed to long, painful editing sessions and retyping entire pages when I changed my mind about something. It was difficult to imagine how something could be with no reference point to work from. Today, I would be at a complete loss if attempting to create any worthwhile document without a computer.

Being aware of what one might be lacking if one has never known better requires a combination of some serious imagination and willingness to change. Personally, I never felt strong urges to change unless serious consequences for not changing existed. This impasse is once again presenting itself in the form of becoming digitally literate. At least literate beyond the use of a word processor. Now there is a much wider and richer digital vocabulary to work with. The language that can be spoken through technology is multi-dimensional and not limited to any of the single senses. Multimedia capabilities are allowing communication to exist for most people where entire studios were once necessary. The challenge now is to devote the time needed to learn the language; or in reality, learn the software.

I am excited to have the opportunity to be in a graduate program that embraces technology as ours does. This is becoming even more personally rewarding for me since I continue to find opportunities to work with the digital arts in elementary classroom settings. This year promises to be very rewarding as I begin research towards my degree studying how elementary students adapt to, discover and learn with digital technology being made available to them. I'm looking forward to each new day.

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