Thinking about technology…

Describe how you learn both informally and formally.

Formally, I learn in school.  I take courses taught by knowledgeable professors who prepare activities, readings, and homework, the completion of which allows me to absorb that knowledge.  I am a very visual learner and color-coding, presentations, and hand-writing notes help me retain information better.  Informally, I think I learn more than I do in my formal education.  I learn from listening to other people talk about issues, from hearing bits and pieces of news from television, from engaging in discussion with others, or just personal browsing about a topic.  My ears are always open for new information and my brain automatically logs away new ideas and thoughts to build up my knowledge base.  I learn from reading, whether I’m learning about better ways to apply make-up from a magazine or acquiring new vocabulary from reading a novel.  Basically, I think I’m always learning about something new because there is always something new to learn and some way to be exposed to that information.

What role does technology play in your learning?

Technology generally plays a huge role in my learning.  Media, such as television, magazines, newspaper, advertisements, the Internet…all of these sources give me access to knowledge on a day-to-day basis which I use frequently, both in informal and formal settings.  If I am interested in a topic and want to know more, I quickly consult the Internet to find answers, or maybe I text a friend who knows more about it than I do to get their opinion.  Technology also helps me share what I’ve learned with others through Facebook notes or status posts.  Many times this will lead to further discussion in which other opinions are added to grow and develop my own knowledge base.  Technology sometimes leads me research topics I didn’t even realize I had no knowledge about.  This generally happens with Wikipedia or YouTube where I begin on one page or video and am lead to other pages that interest me.  I think this demonstrates how many times technology is teaching us about the world and we often are unaware that it is taking place.

What role does technology play in general in your life?

Technology is something I use every single day for almost every activity.  I text and email throughout the day to stay connected to family and friends, plan my upcoming wedding, and stay on top of homework assignments.  I use the technology of the car to drive me to school, my GPS to take me to unfamiliar places, my iPod to entertain me while I drive, and my radio when my iPod bores me.  My smart phone lets me play games, surf the Internet, find people and places, and download movies and videos.  When I come home, I might watch TV to relax, use my microwave to make dinner, and use my computer to type a paper (or a blog like this one).  All of these activities are so mundane that they have become automatic for me; I no longer struggle to find the right buttons on my phone or the right program on my computer.  By being exposed to so many types of technology 24 hours a day, our generation is developing a type of media literacy that is unique and is only growing as new technology is invented.

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