Just when you feel good about your digital world learning curve, a new device operating system brings a serious case of update-time discomfort. While none of us ever stops learning, sometimes these periods of relearning tasks that, in theory, we already know pretty well can be daunting.
I work with educational technology in a school, where updates are part of the job. Yet each time I need to relearn routine tasks I get a healthy reminder that when it comes to digital skill problem-solving and tinkering, I remain a digital immigrant — always a bit slower at figuring out new things than most of my digitally native students. [See note at the end of this post.]
A few nights ago, when I read the stories about the new iOS7 for my iPhone, I resolved to wait a week or two and let any glitches work themselves out. But the next afternoon, Julian, a middle school student, stopped by my technology office asking questions about the cool new iOS7 system that he was downloading — that very minute. I did not know the answers to his questions.
Aha, I thought. Some of my students may need my help. So the next morning at 5:30, I downloaded the new operating system on my iPhone. An hour later with a somewhat different looking device, I fumbled around, located my Audible account, and listened to my latest recorded book as I drove to school — while patting myself on the back. I can manage the new iOS7 — not to mention change.
Then I arrived at school, got out of the car, and could not turn off my book. For more than five minutes I stood in the parking lot tapping at vaguely familiar iPhone icons and finally managed to turn it off. But in the process I turned on some bluegrass music. I had no idea where that music was coming from, because as far as I know, bluegrass does not reside on my iPhone.
iPhones seem to have unlimited features to tweak. Since I have owned iPhones for more than four years, I tend to believe I am pretty expert about using them.
Then I read this Christian Science Monitor article, 40 iPhone Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know, and discovered that I still have quite a few cool new things to learn. The February 2012 report, by Megan Riesz, Eoin O’Carroll, and Chris Gaylord, includes a few far-fetched suggestions that I will never do — in my case some the ideas for tweaking Siri — but it also includes several iPhone tweaks that I’ve already added as I was making my way through the 40 tips.
It’s a fact of life. We all spend lots of time attached to headphones.
Most of us know enough to take care with the volume, but are we really doing it? Moreover, what can we do to ensure that our kids are regulating the volume as they listen to music? It doesn’t help that many pre-teens and adolescents don’t always listen to their parents.
Now a new app, Auto-Old My Music, may be able to communicate the dangers of extremely loud music better than we can. This app, available for iPhone and iPod, plays the music differently — it’s muffled and not particularly clear — just the way it might sound to a person who is hearing impaired.
Read You Make the Call on Kids’ Phones in the Sunday, November 27, 2011 Washington Post. Written by columnist Michelle Singletaryand aimed at the parents of digital kids, the article examines the practice of giving children cell phones at younger and younger ages. The author believes that, in reality, cell phones are simply playful gadgets that easily confuse children about the difference between needing things and wanting things.
How does one keep mobile devices working during some type of emergency?
It’s been an eventful week here in Northern Virginia. On Tuesday we had an earthquake, 5.8 on the Richter magnitude scale, shaking lots of things at home and work to the floor. Almost immediately, on Wednesday, we began making preparations for hurricane Irene, the largest of its kind to move up the east coast of the United States in more than 50 years. In both cases, it’s been harder than usual to count on gadgets like mobile phones, iPads, tablets, and laptops.
For more than an hour after the earthquake, making mobile phone calls was difficult, though I found I was able to text easily. Now, during hurricane Irene (I am sitting by a window watching the rain fall in sheets), I worry about maintaining the battery charge of each gadget as long as possible, since the power is sure to go out at some point. Of greater concern is that, with millions of people losing power, it may take some time to get the power restored. Preservation becomes even more of a concern.