I have a vague recollection of technology when I was a toddler, but when I was in kindergarten onwards I remember the technological devices we have in our household that I once didn't consider as technology. However, before I list these devices, I should start with a pen and paper first, tools that are considered as technological devices according to my professor. Before I started kindergarten, I can write my first and last name using a pencil and paper. I'm not sure if there are other words I used to write because that was a long time ago. The chalk and chalkboard were the visual aids used when I was in kindergarten, but there was an array of visual aids in grade school and high school. Included in this post is my Technology Narrative final draft as an assignment for my Reading and Writing class online as an autobiography of how technology and I started way back in the 90s.
I was exposed to a variety of technological devices while growing up in the 90s. My family loved and enjoyed music so my father bought an entertainment system that included a television set, a cassette and VCR player, a receiver, a subwoofer, and two large speakers. I remember when our relatives would visit the adults would watch The Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over concert while the children were playing outside in daylight and watching the concert at night. There was never a day that the radio was turned off. Music was a daily part of our lives, and my parents’ musical influences were passed on to us as we were growing up. When we weren’t listening to the radio or watching a concert, my brothers and I played the Family computer or GameBoy. Sometimes I would watch my cousins play the PlayStation when we visited them.
We had a family business, so a telephone was necessary in the household. I think it was in the late 90s when my father bought a Nokia cell phone. It was a huge and heavy phone, bigger than a regular corded telephone. But since that was the first cell phone I had seen in my life, I thought it was amazing. Without my surprise, a few months later, I saw cell phones smaller than my dad’s phone. As I read magazines and watched television I saw these cell phones that have the ability to phone and send a text message. In 2000, most of the upper and middle-class groups owned a cell phone in the capital city of the Philippines. It wasn’t difficult to buy a cell phone; the market was competitive and the consumers have an option to choose from the array of phone plans. Text messaging was cheaper and becoming a trend compared to talking to someone on the phone. That time, cell phones were becoming viral and cheap so it was easy for a working class person to buy one. The marketed cell phones were smaller, lacked antennas, had larger screens, and more features. By 2005, in my last year in high school, everyone in class had a cell phone (including me). And this time, the phones were in various shapes and sizes.
Despite these devices that I grew up with, my earliest beginnings with technology was a pen and paper, tools that I used to write my name. I learned more words when I went to kindergarten. Kindergarten to high school institutions used the chalk and chalkboard. I had my first computer class in Grade 4 and was taught up to high school. Sometimes, the teacher would use an overhead projector for his or her lectures. Other times, class would be held at a room where the teacher would play videos and used a dry erase marker to write on the whiteboard. By high school, it was implied that all students were knowledgeable of Microsoft PowerPoint and that it was required to use for class presentations. Computer classes were introduced to the curriculum in the fourth grade in 1998 so I learned how to use it at a young age. These were the methods and technological devices I grew up and learned.Since our school introduced a computer class in the fourth grade, students were required to use the Internet once a week in the school library to get ourselves acquainted with technology. In sixth grade, I signed up for my first email address partly due to my older cousin’s influence. The Internet helped me communicate with my aunt who was living in Florida. I was the “mediator” between my mom and aunt because my mom didn’t know how to use email yet. I have never abandoned any technologies I tried before; on the contrary, my technological skills have improved. I still use the Internet and email, and I use my cell phone for phone and text messaging. Nowadays, I rarely email my family and friends because there is Facebook, Skype, and Yahoo! Messenger. I email when necessary, so I can’t say I have abandoned email completely. My cell phone, laptop, and iPod are the most important technological devices I own that I use every day. I won’t say that I text more than I email, because I think I spend more time on the Internet than my phone mainly because of university, my family and friends overseas, and my hobbies. These three have affected my personal life such that I rely on them most of the time such as when I need to talk to someone.
Because I learned how to use the Internet at a young age, it was not difficult for me to use it for communicating with my extended family and friends. My knowledge of the Internet was an advantage because it helped me contact my family and friends without help. My first few months in Canada were difficult because I had no friends so I had to rely on the internet to communicate with them online. Instead of going out and meeting new people, I spent my time online to chat or talk with family and friends during weekends. Due to my technological capability, I was always online so I could catch my friends online and chat with them. The 14-hour difference (13 hours with Daylight Savings Time) was a hindrance for while it is night here, it’s daylight there so sometimes I go to sleep really late which made it difficult for me to wake up in the morning to go to work. This used to be my lifestyle, but once I became settled and realized that everything has changed, I no longer stay up late just to catch my friends or chat with them all the time. I chat with them whenever I feel like it, because I understand that we lead separate lives now. Most of my relatives are rarely online, but when they are, it’s usually the weekend so oftentimes I don’t go out on weekends just so I can stay and to talk to them. Sometimes, I teach my mom to chat and use Skype so she wouldn’t wait for me whenever I go out late on Saturday nights. This way, my parents can talk to our other relatives online without me or my brother’s assistance.
I am more knowledgeable about the Internet compared to before that I couldn’t last a day without it that sometimes I take a break. As a past-time hobby, I like watching Asian shows. They almost have the same format as the American television shows, but they only run for one season that lasts 16 to 24 episodes for Korean dramas and 9-12 for Japanese dramas. Each episode runs 45-65 minutes and has a variety of genres. I spend hours and days watching a 16-episode series that sometimes I would rather finish the remaining episodes than go out with my friends. But since I started university, I have been able to limit my use of the internet for unnecessary and time-consuming activities. It took some time for my lifestyle to change from when I first came here up to today, but nevertheless, the Internet has been a significant part of this change in my life.
To be technologically literate, one has to have a technological device for each activity he or she does. He or she does not use a pen and paper all the time, but a handy and multi-purpose technological device. When I used to use a pen and paper to write my thoughts, I sometimes had difficulty to free write because I pause after a couple of sentences to read what I have written which diverts my attention to the main idea I wanted to convey. With blogging, I have no difficulty free writing because I can write as long as I want quicker than writing in paper. If I need to stop to read the paragraphs, I can easily delete the words I don’t like. When I become accustomed to using a Smartphone or a BlackBerry as my “digital planner”, I will probably spend more time using it the same way I use my planner every day. This would be handy for my future professional life as a required technology. A cell phone would be necessary, and if it’s also an organizer it would help out a lot. I might use the laptop too, because I would need to be online all the time for documents or files that need to be emailed or forwarded for work. A music player, or my iPod (if my current one still works in the future), would be a supplemental technology to use whenever I need it.
In the meantime, I currently have these technological devices at home: a desktop, a printer, and two laptops; one is my brother’s and the other is mine. So every time I come home, I turn on my laptop and go online or do homework. I am content with my laptop, iPod, and basic cell phone and I have no wish to buy any new technological device in the near future. I recently bought a netbook that I bring to university which still makes me guilty because I know that I don’t badly need this device and yet I still bought it. I plan to buy a MacBook, but that won’t happen anytime soon, because my laptop and netbook are working just fine. I am not interested in the iPad or tablets as well; I don’t know why, but somehow since the launch of the iPad, it had never appealed to me in any way. I am also not interested in the iPhone because I believe that there are much better phones on the market than this overrated cell phone. I don’t need a Smartphone or a BlackBerry either, so cheap cell phone offers don’t appeal to me. I prefer writing, highlighting, and reading on a planner compared to Smartphones or an app for now.
I don’t have any technological “wish list” because I am satisfied with the devices I have now. It may not make me up to date with the latest technology, but I really don’t mind. If I buy a device one day after six months there will be a new model of that same device. It’s a waste of money, and as a student, it’s not really economical for me. My friend tells me that I should learn the latest technology, but to me it doesn’t really matter because technology is quickly changing even before my trusty pen runs out of ink.
Analysing this paper, I can see that I have been introduced to technology since I was a child which has changed my perception of technology today where I prefer to spend less time online and more time in the real world due to the lifestyle I used to have during my first few years in Canada. This change in perception is due to my old lifestyle in the Philippines where the Internet was not a daily part of my lifestyle--only when I needed to do assignments. I used to spend my time with my family and friends than exploring the Internet. Unfortunately, I went back to this life when I migrated so once again I am going back to my old life where I would like to spend more time making real and personal communication. I just hope that I can do this seeing how today's society lives. A person is only given one chance to live, and I wish to spend more time exploring the wonders of the world than sitting on a desk behind a laptop.