Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Internet dependency

I've posted before about our millennial-generation students who take notes on their laptops during class. Pencil and paper are apparently "so 1980s." Even the public library system here has their catalogue online, instead of in those little pull-out boxes of cards I remember never learning how to use.
Well, what happens when your Internet is taken away? For most of the day yesterday, we were without Net. No e-mail. No shared files. No fact-checking by Web. I have this mental image of us wandering a desert with no water.
While we managed to fill our time productively - taking care of projects that require old-fashioned hands-on work - I was sincerely hoping as I drove to campus this morning that our technology lifeline had been restored. The IT department gets chocolate chip cookies; we're back up.
I've had several wake-up calls about technology in the last two weeks - more than half the students in a seventh-grade class I visited last week have their own MySpace or Facebook pages. I went to pick up my kindergartner from school and he was the only child in the after-school program not tapping away at a computer when I got there.
Just how dependent on technology are we? And at what point do we say "No, I'd rather have a pencil and piece of paper, please."

-Misty Cline works in the Office of Marketing and Communications at Fort Valley State University.

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