By Imani Carr/For CU-CitizenAccess.org
CU-CitizenAccess worked with faculty from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science to secure a grant from the state that offers skills training to help participants secure jobs. The money was used to place community ambassadors in public computer labs to offer computer literacy training and workshops to underserved populations from the Urbana Free Library, Salt and Light Food Pantry and Shadow Wood Mobile Home Park as well as a public computer lab in East St. Louis.
We've asked our local community ambassadors to blog about their experiences.
Technology is a grand thing! Would you agree? With it we have automobiles, lights, printers, televisions, telephones, cell phones, hand-held game systems, Xbox consoles, PlayStation consoles, iPads, iPods, MP3 players, CD players, VCRs, DVD players, Blue Ray DVD players. Does anyone remember the Boombox? What about the turntable? What about the gramophone? 8-Track? Radio? Cassette players? Hey, I still have cassettes at home, vinyl records, and VHS tapes. Can anyone out there relate?
In all that, I still know how to write a check, write and mail a letter, add, subtract, multiply, and divide without the use of a calculator, find directions without a GPS, and find a phone number without dialing 411 or using the Internet. How many in this generation can say the same thing?
So here’s my question. Have we become so reliant on technology that we have forgotten how to live, how to really communicate, how to interact with one another with quality?
Don’t get me wrong, we need technology, but like everything else in life, technology has its place.
When I go to a grocery store or fast food restaurant, I find it disheartening that if the cash register is malfunctioning, the person behind the register struggles to calculate how much change I should or should not be getting. Am I alone in this? I have witnessed a cashier cuss the register out for doing what machines sometimes do – break down. When did we get to the point that if technology stops working, so do we? What happened? I’ll take a stab at the answer. We started getting comfortable.
Who doesn’t appreciate someone else doing all the work for us at one point or another? Anyone? The only problem with that is if we continue to allow that to happen, we become lazy, unproductive, and in some cases, unlearned. It’s all about relationship! Just as with people, our relationship with technology has to be one of respect. Respect technology, but do not take it for granted. Learn to put your relationship with technology in its proper place. Love it for its convenience, but don’t worship it as a god. Ask yourself this, if computers, cell phones, iPads, iPods, game consoles, and all the rest of those gadgets you carry around were to stop working, could you survive?
Imani Carr/Community Ambassador at Salt and Light in north Champaign