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Currently a student at the University of South Alabama majoring in secondary math education.I have a deep affinity for old typewriters, pens, and keys.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Personally speaking: A Response

I get extremely excited when it comes to technology and I find it odd that people should fear it. Especially in reading the responses to Dr. Strange's recent post. I do find it rather odd that quite a few of the comments were using the future tense as though it wasn't something happening right now. This was not some theoretical test for the unforeseeable future, it's current news. That is the big point; this isn't the future it's now and if you fear it, well, hold on to your pants because the rest of your life is going to get bumpy.
One of the things that excites me about technology is the whole idea of wetware and BCIs. Integrating circuitry into our bodies for the improvement of mankind, obviously I am a fan of the works of William Gibson and the sprawl trilogy not to mention Philip K. Dick. Even things like Nano Ink are exciting, the possible applications are just amazing. The sub-dermal implantation of RFIDs is already happening and making some people's lives easier The advances we are making in every field and walk of life are amazing and it is all for and because of technology. Great minds are working everyday to make our lives easier and information more rapidly available.

The rapid acquisition of information is not a fantasy it's the reality of today. Smart phones are everywhere, going somewhere without internet access is almost unimaginable. No longer is our data stored on bulky cards, disks, and drives; it's everywhere. We cannot fear this, it's our life. Fearing the inevitable reality that our students will be using outdated technology is simply laughable. I don't have many friends who use libraries for anything besides entertainment, we needn't leave the house for our research. We can carry a plethora books using e-readers and ipads in package smaller than most of the paper print books I own now.
We must teach our students how to use the technology that will surround them for good, that is our job. We will not be spouting facts and using transparencies like the schools we have grown accustomed to. We must teach them how to utilize every available resource, the old and the new. Dictionaries still have their place but they have websites too. Encyclopedias are laughable with each volume containing a single letter and barely scratching the surface of topics compared to the information available online.
The future isn't now but the tech we are learning about now, if you want to see scary tech start reading tech blogs and what's up ahead. Will we tremble in fear when displays float in the air and hand gestures are the accepted user input method? I certainly hope not!
People have always used robots and it's a word that has changed definition in the eyes of popular thinking. Do you realize that there was a time when washing machines were considered robots? It's simply a term for something that makes human life easier. The what ifs we tie to robots, cybernetics, and the like can at times seem scary but that is also because we often look at worse case scenarios. Science fiction is filled with robot uprisings and demented AI, it's natural to fear things like that. We however should not fear the free flow information and certainly not seek to control it.
The idea of controlling information, especially digitally available information, is horrifying to me. I cannot imagine what the world would be like if that were to become the case. We cannot be the generation to put programs in place to limit what information is available to whom, we must be the generation that ensures information is free to all. Look at what happened in Egypt, now put that on a global scale. Yeah, pretty scary.
Technology is our friend, technology makes our lives easier, technology is our world, technology is this class, technology is the future. If you cannot accept these simple terms then maybe we are headed for a dystopian future and your fear is justified, perhaps those of us who embrace technology will be imprisoned with the AI in the revolution. Then again, maybe it is those who fear technology who will be left behind in the wilderness as technology ushers humanity into the next century. Maybe someday we will leave the bounds of this mass hurtling through space in search of new worlds to proliferate with information and devices assisted by our AI companions and sub dermal implants. Maybe someday science fiction will become reality and people will no longer learn but simply be injected with information via implants or RNA.
The future is coming and we are the ones seeking to prepare the next generation for the hurtles and technology they will face. How can we do this if we are not prepared to accept the facts of our current reality and the directions we are going? I don't want to scare you, but, TECHNOLOGY!


  1. Now you really will have them shaking in their boots. Thanks for the response! Well done. This is what I hope will happen in EDM310 - genuine conversations, debates. A true learning community!


  2. Here are some "robots" I have personally worked with. This video is from a factory, the sounds will be loud and annoying; I did not want to change the audio to music because I did not see a reason to. The text is only up for five seconds, if you want to read it you will need to pause the video.

  3. Nikolas, the way you wrote this post is as enjoyable to read as any sci-fi book. It's even better because you seem so convicted about radical technological growth in our society.

    I just watched your video from the link you provided. Where do you work and what are you building!? I read the text about the plastic, the precise codes, and the programming. That is intense.

    If you are so involved and obviously knowledgable about all of this sort of higher level technology, why do you want to go into teaching. I am not sure if you have done your shot movie for project 11 yet or not, but if you haven't-- will you include the answers to my questions above in it so I can watch it just in case I forget to ask you next time I see you. I want to know more about how you became interested in such advanced machinery (robots) and why (or if) you are switching gears to math education mode. Are you going to develop a classroom that allows students to apply their learning concepts through the creation process? I WANT TO KNOW MORE! Maybe we could set up an interview for one of your future projects-- only I want to be the interviewer.

  4. That video is from when I worked for Industrial Custom Products as a night shift supervisor/machinist/operator/thermal former. We had a plant in Roseville where I took the video and one in St. Anthony, St. Anthony worked on smaller things and was more manual I would go over there occasionally. We made plastic things for all kinds of companies with all kinds of uses from trays to hold engines while shipping to menu sign holders for fast food for companies including Budweiser, Polaris, Polar Trailer, Kohls, and a great deal more. It was a good job and I have been offered similar positions in Florida by recruiters but I want my education. I left because an offer was put on the table to send me to trade school to become fully certified in programming CNCs but I decided it wasn't how I wanted the rest of my life to go.
    I've always wanted to teach, it's been one of my top three careers for forever. I never knew what subject though and was originally planning to become a nurse and move up to teaching in that field when I came to South. That wasn't going as well as I hoped, so I decided that I should go for one my lifelong strong suits instead. I used to teach for the Boy Scouts at their summer camp, I did that from ages 14 to 17 and enjoyed it a great deal.
    As I believe I mentioned in a past post I grew up a little bit differently than some people. I did a lot as a youth and learned a great many different things due to the situations I was in. My family traveled, moved, lived in small a small town, and was encouraging of my potential. I had opportunities and resources not everyone did before the internet became so widespread, such as digital archives of magazines and encyclopedias on disks from an early age. I was naturally curious and loved to learn especially about machines and technology, I read all the time and took things apart at every opportunity.