How much technology is too much?
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
A few years ago there was a prototype appliance that merged
a refrigerator and the Internet. It had a computer
monitor in the door and the cooler was online. As I recall, the idea was to have instant access to thousands of
recipes; the online tie-in was to increase access to databases of cooking and
recipe Web sites and even notify someone who is mobile to pick up a dozen eggs
on the way home in order to have a complete set of ingredients. My memory is a bit hazier on this next one,
but I believe the same general idea was applied to a microwave oven. As far as I know, this idea never took off and
hotel room. An article discussed a
service called E.V.A., an "electronic virtual assistant." For a minimum of about $60.00 a month the
busy professional can call (or e-mail) E.V.A. and a real live person will take
a message and in turn e-mail the message to the intended recipient. This made me wonder, how much is enough? Wouldn't it be just as easy to call the
person, or e-mail her yourself? My two
teenage daughters both bought new phones recently that have Web and e-mail
capability. As with everything in the
cellular world, these sorts of add-ons to phoning capabilities will be
ubiquitous soon enough. Why would
someone pay $60/month for a third-person party to do what either voice-mail,
e-mail, or a phone call would do? My
point is there is a time when we reach saturation with technology. More is not
always better. I'm not a curmudgeon on
such things and I do realize that pioneers in any field are going to miss a few
before they hit a home run. In fact, I
rather like experimenting with new technology. I dived into Vista probably before it was prudent and have been updating
hardware and drivers left and right since. Of course, the flood of technology is not likely to slow. I tell my graduate students in their
educational technology for school leaders that my motto is "technology cannot
be stopped and youth will be served." So
the question becomes, how does one separate the wheat from the chaff,
especially in a school setting? More on
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