As a retired elementary and technology teacher, I went to many professional development meetings and classes. I remember one specific quote that has made a difference for me in the technology world. The speaker told us, “Date the tool, but marry the skill.” After letting this soak in for a while, I realized that this was a great way to describe the relationship we have with technology.
With rapid and frequent changes in technology over the past 20 years, we have learned to use many new tools; and just when it seems we have learned how to use that tool, a new one is released, forcing us to change our habits and learn something new. This is okay! We need to have a long-term relationship with the idea of using technology. We can think of a need and then learn an app to help us with that need.
However, remember to just “date” the specific app you are using, because eventually that tool may be obsolete. It may disappoint you, and a newer, better-looking tool will introduce itself to you. You may have to break up with the old app or tool.
For example, there are many apps/tools that I loved several years ago that just don’t meet my standards anymore. Apps like AIM (AOL’s Instant Messenger) on my iPhone or Microsoft Works on my first Windows 3.1 computer were the best thing ever…at the time! Newer and better (and yes, sometimes more confusing) applications have come along to take their place.
I could write a whole blog on technologies of the past—answering machines, rotary phones, party lines, MySpace, Bebo, bag phones, flip phones, computers that filled a whole room, Apple II computers, and so on. We have to be open to the new relationships we can make and new opportunities we can find with the newer technologies.
Decide what you want to do with your technology. “Marry” that skill or idea. Have a healthy and long-term relationship with the idea of using technology to make your life easier. Find an app that you can use to help you with that idea. However, just “date” the app. The relationship may last quite a while if you are lucky; or it may only be around for a few months. But don’t worry, another app is out there waiting for you, and it may be even better!