What's the point of my anecdote? I share it to ask this question with my ENG830 class: how important is it to keep up with online technology, and what happens to those who can't or won't keep up? I'm hoping the loss of my computer is only temporary, yet already I'm scrambling to work online. Buying a new computer is not an option at this point, so I would have to use communal computer labs in order to do my work. Internet access is not only increasingly convenient, it is increasingly unavoidable. The Department of Education has made its financial aid application available only online, along with the paperwork for federal student loans. Entertainment, news and media are available 24/7, and updated at all hours of the day or night. Internet enhancement is becoming more and more integral to modern life. My technical difficulties transcend inconvenience; they are affecting my ability to participate in a prescribed component of my graduate degree.
I realize my problem stems from my personal computing platform of choice. Apple is notorious for relentlessly updating its technology, but on the other hand, I've avoided major software bugs and steered clear of Vista-like debacles. The fact is, it is extremely necessary to keep up with online technology. As we move toward a more technological society, the internet is at the forefront of information dissemination. Breaking news and video are available online almost instantaneously. Students can complete courses or even entire degrees online. The lack of internet access is not an option.
What about those who are wary of the internet? I work with students and parents, and there is a great deal of resistance to the internet among parents and older, non-traditional students. The people i speak with who can't or won't keep up with the internet are frustrated at the lack of options when taking care of their academic paperwork. I have heard anger, frustration, fear and even sheer panic in their voices. I can understand their frustration, but to me it's equally frustrating as I try to help them. The truth is, the speed and universal accessibility of the internet is changing information and administration. Whether it's a university or a government office, once the decision to go completely online has been made, it's up to everyone to learn how to keep up, or be left behind.
I'm hoping my iMac is repairable. Instant access to entertainment and news is a necessity, not a luxury, and I have become accustomed to having it available in the comfort of my own home. I'll spend as much time at the computer labs as I need to, but in the end, I'll probably do what I have to--and spend what I have to--to surf from the comfort of home once again.