I am Wired for Change – Are You?

Are the X-Gens more adaptable to change?

I am a typical Generation X – a shadow of my parents baby boomer generation. My digital metamorphosis started sometime in the 80’s. Change was something that I expected in my life. Not just change, but rapid change. Almost like yesterday, I remember the new channel called MTV. I watched Little House on the Prairie everyday after school, waiting for my mother and step-father to come home  (a true Latchey kid, in a mixed family). I loved TV. Knight Rider, Facts of Life, Growing Pains. And my favourite -I watching Star Trek “TNG” loyally every week. Of course, this led to the natural progression of video games. In middle school.  I played video games by hooking up to an old black and white TV (that usually required a set a pliers to turn the channel). My first was the Atari400. It seems like yesterday that my friends and I would spend hours playing Star Raiders or Donkey Kong. I can quite honestly say that I blame Super Mario Brothers and Adventures of Zelda for all of my problems in high school. Reading and Arithmetic were on the back shelf. School was boring. I don’t recall ever feeling “fascinated” when live newscasts of the Gulf War showed up on my TV screen, although I do remember wishing I could watch it in colour, like my neighbours did.  I learned to use an electronic keyboard in “typing class” and how to center my page, “ff,jjj,fff,jjj” which still haunts me today. By first year University I owned my own electronic keyboard and then my very first laptop computer, a Tandy computer from Radio Shack. I remember clearly getting my first colour TV with a remote that didn’t have cords.  In the 90’s – my first computer, internet connection, digital phone, cd player, dvd player, Ipod, memory key (1G costing $80). I remember having to learn how to use Word, then Wordperfect, then Star Office and then Word again and now I don’t use any of it. I had to switch from Outlook to First Class. I changed my internet service provider six times in order to find the best deals. I changed my blog hosts from blogger, to edublogs, to wordpress. I changed from iWeb to wikispaces for student collaboration and then to individual student accounts.

I no longer have cable. I no longer have a landline. My CD’s and DVD’s are no longer on that shelf. We don’t rent DVD’s. We don’t buy CD’s. Many of the once NEW technologies, have been replaced by something new. More change.

I have come to realize that I have been wired for change. Really. My generation grew up with ‘new’ of everything. In our learning years – our school aged years, we had to adapt to a rapid redesign, revision, tranformation, tweaking, switching.


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9 Replies to “I am Wired for Change – Are You?”

  1. I too think my own ability to change and adapt to new technologies is partly a result of my generation. But that still doesn’t explain why more GenXers aren’t able to deal;-)

  2. Thanks for the comment Royan…Can’t imagine you having the time at the moment -:)
    So what does explain why more of them aren’t able to deal?

  3. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I too had a Tandy laptop in in University. This Generation Xer enjoys learning about all the new technological changes. It is sometimes hard to keep up but it is exciting nonetheless. Thanks for being a leader; inspiring and teaching other educators to stay Wired for change.

  4. Hi Zoe! (Hi Royan!)
    While generational preparedness and exposure to (technological) change is certainly a factor, I wonder if other environmental, systemic, and cognitive predispositions are also significant factors? Some may “learn” (adapt) as a result of need, instruction/training, or inclination, but are we perhaps expecting a responsiveness in the masses that may not be realistic? Zoe, you mentioned at #otfcue last week that your current cohort of pre-service teachers were the first group to have experienced EQAO as learners — a cohort that have experienced the influence of standardized testing. I wonder how that overarching reality factors into their outlook as learners?
    I’m not at all convinced that our education system has the effect (let alone the intention) of creating a mass of inquiring, collaborwting, persevering, adaptive, and creative learners. Sure, some get through that way. But why not more?

  5. Hi Zoe,
    I agree – being innovative and “wired for change” is only going to get more and more important in education. It’s funny – the only reason I started teaching is because of an innovative program at Brock University (Hamilton campus) years ago. It was called Enterprise Education and ran for a few years under the leadership of Gene Luczkiw and in partnership with the Institute for Enterprise Education. Basically, we took 3 semesters instead of 2 for our B.Ed. program and we took all sorts of Enterprise/Entrepreneurship courses in relation to education and did an 4 week placement in a community business or organization in addition to our classroom placement. The idea was to bring innovation and community to the classroom. Unfortunately, I do think this program has ended – but perhaps it exists in some form elsewhere. I think that those entrepreneurship and enterprise courses were exceedingly valuable and that all pre-service teachers should take some sort of entrepreneurship course. Its a belief I’ve had for YEARS and meant to blog about it. I still think personality plays a major role, but think that the idea of focusing on change/adaptability in education and bringing in community in important. Great post, thanks for sharing!!!

  6. Thanks so much for the comment on my blog. Your support is very much appreciate. Glad we can share in those “tandy computer” experiences.

  7. HI Jackie,

    This comment will most definitely be shared at Brock. Experiential learning is so so important as you’ve stated here. Thank you so much for participating in my blog and my PLN.

  8. Hi Zoe,
    Wow! That is a very impressive recollection! I completely forgot about The Facts of Life lol Love the representation of your digital life, it is amazing to think that all those changes weren’t really that long ago. I am very slow at adapting to new technology… as embarrassing as it is to admit I came to University with a disk until I found out about thumb drives. Shortly after, I was introduced to Facebook. Taking your course had helped me realize how technology plays a vital role in keeping up with new information and how social networking can bring educators together. I may not be able to always take a course on the latest in tech, but you have provided me with a perspective with which I can take charge of my own professional development! Thank you.

  9. Thank you so much for you comments Melissa. I do hope that you continue to use online networking to keep connected, stay current, and get support. I look forward to continued collaboration as I’m sure I will have lots to learn from you as you enter your career in teaching. Congratulations on the completion of the first half.

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