This weekend I came to a realization. If a member of my family asks me a tech question that I immediately don’t know how to solve, there is a good chance that I’ll respond in a less than pleasant manner.
On Saturday my wife made the big switch from an iPhone to an Android phone. She spent the weekend trying to figure the thing out. Whenever she vocalized a question getting it to work, I seemed to get all pissy. My go to response was an irritated sigh followed by “Google it". My next response is “ask our teenager."
The thing is, my wife was not really asking me how to do anything on her new phone. She was just expressing her frustrations that she did not know how to do it.
I'd like to think that I'm usually a helpful and patient person. But when it comes to tech questions, I just can’t seem to help myself. But I want to change.
Owning up to a problem, and owning that problem, is the only way forward.
So here goes. What could explain my familial technology impatience?
Hypothesis #1 - The Defensiveness of the (Technology) Expert:
I work at the intersection of learning and technology. Doesn’t that mean I should know something about technology? If I don’t immediately know the answer to a technological problem, doesn’t that call into question my credentials as a technology expert?
The reality is that I am not any better equipped to answer consumer tech questions than anyone else. My job is about learning innovation, not specifically about the technology. But sometimes I perceive that other people think I should know all the technology too, which I do not.
Hypothesis #2 - Technology Problem Fatigue:
Part of my work is to think about the problems in education that we have created with technology. I think about the opportunities as well, but you can’t have one without the other.
My energy reserve around technology problems is drained by the time I go home.
This is one of the reasons that I’d rather read a book than a blog at home, and interact with my Kindle Paperwhite than my MacBook Air.
Home is my technology refuge, and having to deal with someone else’s technology problem disrupts the refuge.
When do your actions and you intentions diverge when it comes to technology?
Read more by
Opinions on Inside Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed’s Blog U
What Others Are Reading