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Online again

January 25th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

How fast we get used to almost ubiquitous technology.

On Tuesday last week I went to London for a meeting. There was supposed to be a wireless network but I couldn’t get it to work. But, I thought, five hours off-line is not such a bad thing, so I did not try too hard.

In the evening I went to Bonn for a project meeting followed by a two day workshop at the BIBB – the German Federal Institute of Vocational education and Training. There was a network but no chance of a connection. The BIBB is located in a government building with a fearsome firewall around it. The hotel did have some access. However the free online PC was broken and the only available network costing eight Euros an hour was infuriatingly slow. Four days with next to no connectivity left me twitching. I felt cut off and out of touch with my friends. It took me until Friday to work out that I could at least use SMS from my mobile phone (although I am very slow typing on telephone keypads). But that is better than nothing.

It was a remiunder how fast we have got used to and come to rely on being connected. It made me think about how the world used to be before wireless networks. And whilst coming back to 350 unanswered work emails was irritating, it was the social contacts and networks I missed most. I guess it shows how rapidly technology is impacting on all facets of our lives and identities (or is it just me  🙂 ).

2 Responses to “Online again”

  1. I know how you feel-I’ve just moved both home & job & haven’t had continuous Internet & its driving me mad. Just when I need my network for support I can’t access it. Has been a saluatory lesson for me.

  2. I know how you feel, Graham. I have this every time we visit my mother (and my mother-in-law). I thought wireless dongle would get me around it, but both places seem to be signal-free zones. Ah well….

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    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time

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