I recently moved house. It’s an exhausting experience. Not only are there the emotional stressors involved with buying and selling, but also the physically draining process of packing and shifting. Settling into the new house is of course exciting. However connecting to the internet at the new house takes time…a long time!! Our provider estimated 10-20 days!!!!! While thankfully it was in actual fact only 8 days, that 8 days of disconnection highlighted just how dependent we are upon the internet in our daily lives.
First world problems, I know. This post is merely an observation of how ‘everyday’ the internet has become – and how many little things we do with the help of this marvel, which didn’t even exist for so much of my life.
During these past weeks I have still been going to work each day, and working online for the majority of this time. However, each evening brought a new ‘we need the internet!’ scenario.
Cooking dinner – that recipe is on the Jamie Oliver website!
Choosing the evening viewing – the TV schedule website was inaccessible.
Reading up on a news article that piqued our interest – no Reddit to read others’ opinions.
Squabbling over what other singles an artist released when they were mentioned on Spicks n Specks – nowhere to research!
Needing a new book to read – with no Amazon and no access to our Digital Library to download e-books, I had to plan my downloads for work time and hope to goodness I didn’t run out during the evening!
Changing address details for the myriad of services modern life accrues – all online!
A compounding problem was that we have never had a land-line – we use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) to run our main phone, so without an internet connection, we also had to rely on our mobile phones (which was really no big deal at all, just another example of how dependent we are on the internet).
Some of my friends thought I should be having a wonderfully restful time, disconnected from the demands of technology. Others who knew me better understood how so many of my habits were connected to the online world, and made delicate inquiries as to how I was ‘coping’.
In truth, I coped fine. It wasn’t horrible having no internet – just disconcerting, to realise how my life has changed and become framed around this always accessible information source. Students in school today must find stints without the internet even more challenging – after all, they have never known a life without it.
It’s this ubiquitous nature of 24-7 information access that we must remember when planning learning – that for many of our students being connected is a natural state of being, and that our teaching should focus on developing their critical literacy (just because the information is there, doesn’t mean it is quality information) and on building their skills to take the content, and actually do something with it. To use this great resource to be constructive and creative, and not as a simple vacuum of time.
Now, I shall go and indulge in some time vacuuming myself – after a long week without social media (read largely Reddit :-)) I am going to catch up with what has really been happening in the world while I’ve been away. It’s going to be a late night!