Teens + tech = Now & Future!

Even before Randy Herrera opens his eyes on school mornings, his high-tech life begins. With a click from his CD alarm clock, the music he bought on the Web and burned onto CDs fills his room. If that doesn’t wake him, his cellphone will. Set to “vibrate,” it buzzes loudly on the floor near his head.

“If I haven’t called my friends by like 7:15, I’ll get a text message going, ‘Hey, man, wake up,’” Herrera says. A 17-year-old senior at Central High School in Providence, R.I., he listens to music and exchanges text messages as he rides to school on a city bus. After school, he pays bills online or talks to his dad in Spain via a webcam attached to his computer. He might shoot scenes for his latest video, or use special software to edit images, dub in music, or write lines for the actors—his friends—to say.

But in school, he has little chance to use new technologies. In English, for instance, there is a computer in the classroom, but he says students are not allowed to use it. To do research, his class of 29 troops upstairs to the media center to share 15 computers. And there, he says, many useful sites are blocked.“When I step out of school, I have a pretty high-tech life,” Herrera says. “When I step in school, I feel like I’m not me anymore. I have to jump into this whole old-fashioned thing where everything is restricted.”

Herrera typifies his generation’s immersion in technology. With their portable digital-music MP3 players, cellphones, and computers, today’s young people are constantly plugged in. By sharing art and music, making Web sites, keeping journals, building social networks, and doing coursework online, they’ve helped catapult the Internet into a new stage known as Web 2.0, in which everyday users don’t just access information, they create it.

Education Week: Outside Interests

THIS is a teen-tech adapter.  Using tech to benefit their NOW lives… online communities to share with their friends… not joining faux-worlds to hide from life.  They’re BUILDING and EMPOWERING their own existence by mixing it with tech– as a tool to expand.  The immersion isn’t a “living within tech” but a “using tech to live more/bigger/faster.”  It’s the ability to take the expansive world online and shape it to make living life easier better.  This to me represents tech/web/teens/and the future.  Not virtual worlds for escapism (like MTV’s VW & Second Life)– hiding from difficult situations as a teen (after all– it’s the difficult situations that build character).

HOWEVER, I refuse to put Second Life down.  Why? Second Life is doing AMAZING things with the MacArthur Foundation— they’re trying to see how virtual worlds can benefit schools & learning. 

A teens’ life should involve tech to improve the present & future.  Virtual worlds would be well served in school– where kids would rather “escape” and show their creative strength then listen to this (as Herrera said) “old-fashion thing where everything is restricted.”

Please check out the MacArthur Foundation. They’re exploits are noble and their future bright.  Also, check out the remaining article above– it’s about tech & schools and the slow improvement of facilities.  I completely avoided the main-topic of the article strictly because young Mr. Herrera’s behavior is on par with teens, tech, and the future.

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