Learning by Smartphone

Talking on the phone and using a computer.
Talking on the phone and using a computer. Image by alexis22578 via flickr.

I needed two phone numbers, right then – at that moment. I didn’t have them. It was a technical difficulty with a conference phone we were using. We had to patch our two callers in instead of using the call-in number.

I never wrote their numbers down.

My boss grabbed her smartphone and started the email check in – need your numbers now please. I called the office to get data from the database. The president began emailing on her phone to further the queries and check the data in her address book.

It was another moment where I wished I had a smartphone.

I covet the dastardly little devils. I enjoy technology, playing with it, learning it, exploring it. But, I also prefer open source technology which often comes with a low or no cost option. So, not buying a smartphone hasn’t been that difficult given the price tag it adds by years’ end.

I also enjoy stories and learning from other people. I haven’t purchased a smartphone for many reasons.

  1. Because of this techonology love, a weakness is staying on the computer too long.
  2. Because of my drive to try to do a good job, I tend to be on the computer too long.
  3. It’s good to take a break and it’s easier to do that when I have the gumption to turn the thing off or not have the thing – I know it will be hard to turn the thing off once I have it.
  4. As such, I’m not on all the time, so why would I want to receive messages allĀ  the time?

After the missing numbers and the smartphone exploration two members reiterated my concerns.

  1. I have had clients email me at midnight on Friday, then complain on Monday when I didn’t respond.
  2. I really don’t like getting emails with questions I can’t answer when I’m not at my desk. It actually makes me feel more efficient.

Yes, thought I, this expands on why not.

So, this simple post is twofold. First, reiterating why I won’t buy into this covetous technology. But, also describing how we can learn.

Recently, someone close to me tried to argue that it is impossible to learn from other people’s mistakes.

She stated, repeatedly, that she felt it is not possible for another to learn from the mistakes I made.

She didn’t have to explain why she felt that way because intrinsically I knew where she was coming from. It’s like the father-son relationship. Father can explain to son all the bad things he did and how it affected him, but at some point, son needs to experience it for himself and come to his own conclusions.

On that intellectual level, I will buy that. I can buy that. I do buy that.

But, if son was a smart boy, after experiencing it for himself, he would be wise to compare his experiences with his father’s. “Oh, Dad explained that and this happened. And that just happened to me. I should be cautious that this other thing could happen.” (I’m reticent to give examples lest I think too gory for my own mind.)

So, this smartphone example will have to suffice. I know I covet the expensive toy. I know there are limitations to what I will realistically be able to accomplish with this expensive toy. It was refreshing to hear other stories of how people use their expensive toy to inform any future decisions I might make regarding it.

I have learned from their stories. I will compare my situation to further educate myself . I will be a part of progress for the better evolvement of our human society.

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