I handled my first Apple computer in 1991. I was 8 years old and my family had just moved to the U.S. My previous school, in Ecuador, was a solemn-looking edifice that was still a bit behind the times. But Burning Tree Elementary School in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A was a whole new world. It was airy, bright, colorful, and advanced. The classrooms were large and they all had sinks, projectors, and a TV with VCR. But even more intimidating (for me) was the school’s computer lab. The Apple computers displayed colorful pictures and the typing program had a white background, which I had never seen. I typed very slowly and earnestly with my two index fingers. My classmates would tell me time and again to stop hitting enter as I neared the right-hand margin, but I just couldn’t! I didn’t want the text to “fall off the page”. “Just keep typing and the words will move to the next line on their own”, they kept telling me. It was pretty amazing all of the things I could do with these computers. I could change the size of the words, the color, the direction… I could paste in little pictures. I could “save” my document and retrieve it later. I wondered not only at the amazing technology, but also at the fact that our teachers were happy to let us “play” and experiment with the computers, rather than telling us step by step what we should do.
Ever since then, I have always been at the same time cautious and enthusiastic about technology. I loved to use it but was too lazy or too scared to learn anything out of my comfort zone. I loved turning in typed assignments, but did not start using the Internet until it was well established, and even then, my best friend had to force me to create my first email address. As I have modernized, other questions have started to bug me, such as the many qualms I have with different social media and their disregard for privacy. Or how distressing it is to be at a family dinner talking to myself while my sisters and mom are glued to their smartphone screens. But more and more, I am realizing that my best bet is not to shy away from technology, but to embrace it and dominate it. I am going to be teaching technologically savvy students, so more than ever, it is in my best interest to keep up with the times, and use technology wisely.