There is something about walking on grass. Or on a dirt road. Or any uneven surface that requires a nuance of balance and tactile awareness I don’t normally use on smooth paved surfaces or the hallways of buildings. I can feel the muscles in my legs and feet respond, my arms spread a little wider to distribute my weight so I can keep my bearings. My eyes become a little more focused and I take in the uneven terrain as something to be experienced, not merely walked across. It’s not always convenient or permissible to walk on the grass but sometimes it can be refreshing, physically and mentally, to do so.
I mention this in part as a reaction to the “top 10 educational technologies” lists I see frequently on various websites and blogs. I usually don’t like “top 10 tech” lists, if only because they often seem slight, smug or commercially suspect. Sometimes all at the same time. I have the apps, websites, and devices I use on a regular basis, ones I’m comfortable with and can use to almost effortless effect. But this has been a autumn of unfamiliar terrain. I have explored the craggy range of apps available on my EPET-issued iPad. I have stumbled across the robust affordances and complexities of statistical software. I have surveyed the reaches of social media, if only along its infinite periphery.
These experiences have felt uneven, unfamiliar, and at times unfulfilling. But I have begun to realize that using technology does not necessarily have to be a destination unto itself. Like so many worthwhile endeavors, it’s the journey that’s often the most rewarding part of my learning experiences. I have been looking at the technology in my professional and personal life like it’s a place I need to get to a soon as possible. But now I’m finding that taking in the terrain of technology in all its uneven features and affordances makes for a better journey.