Awareness of technology

gps-304842_640Digital literacy includes an element of awareness of the technologies which we use however some technologies are more evident to us than others.     When we are updating our social media platforms via our mobile phone or tablet, this is clearly technology at use.    This kind of technology and this kind of usage come easily to mind.    It may even be the first thought which arises when some mentions technology use.      Equally using a computer system at work to respond to emails and create documents is likely to come quite easily to mind.   But what of the technologies we use which may not come as easily to mind?

More and more new cars now come equipped with Sat Nav.   This technology has now been around for a while and is becoming more normal and accepted.   It seems quite simple in that all it does is get us from place A to place B however in doing so it generates data regarding our travel habits which in turn can identify our home and places of work, our preferred route to work, the school our children go to if we drop them off, which other people and cars are in our household, etc.   I am not sure we give much thought to this.

An emerging technology is that of fitness trackers.   Again more and more people are using them but I doubt it would be one of the first items listed when talking about technology use.   Like Sat Nav these have information about where we go to and also when however in addition they have information in relation to sleep patterns and heart rate.

We are also seeing an increasing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices starting to make appearances within our homes.    Having recently had to look at purchasing a new washing machine I was presented with the option of a Wi-Fi connected machine.   You can also get your central heating, lighting and power sockets on the internet so they can be controlled via an app.    On face value these devices present a new level of convenience with easy control of your home from your phone including while away however more connected devices means a greater online footprint which therefore represents a greater online cyber security risk.

The above are only a small number of technologies, some which we easily perceive as technology while others we are less aware of or possibly just less aware of the implications of their use.

Do give enough consideration to the implications of using a new technology when going out and purchasing the shiny new tech toy?  

Can we actual predict the implications given that they may not manifest themselves to some years further down the line?

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Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the Middle East. In addition Gary is a Google and Microsoft Certified Educator.

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