Tuesday, March 7, 2017

#SOL17 A Snapchat of my Digital Life 7/31

2017 is the tenth year of the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers, but it is my first time participating. The goal is to write and post a "slice of life" story every day during the month of March. (I will still be posting book reviews but a little less frequently.)

Slice of Life: a Snapchat of my Digital Life

Ok, full disclosure, I do not use Snapchat. But it did make for a catchy title, right?

Since my first slice this month about changes and abnormal normals, I've been pondering other things that can change rapidly during one's lifetime, which got my thinking about technology and the role of technology in my life.

I remembering being a college student and thinking back about my parents' experiences, wondering, "How did you ever survive college without a computer!?" But now I'm sure my seventh graders are wondering, "How did you ever survive middle school without Google!?" That will be a topic for a future slice, but today I wanted to start in the present and capture my current digital regime.

Devices: I primarily use my Macbook laptop (provided by my school) and my Nexus 5 Android phone, which is actually my first-ever smartphone. I clung to my "dumbphone" far longer than anyone else my age that I know, trading it in for a hand-me-down smartphone from my husband in November 2015 and finally getting my own smartphone in March of 2016. (I had an Android Nexus tablet for several years, which I used at home for any and all smartphone-related functions except calls.)

Apps: My morning routine is to squeeze about ten minutes in with my phone after waking up and before breakfast. I check Instagram, Facebook, and my Feedly of mainly teacher blogs. If time I might look at my local, national, or international news apps, but lately that just adds stress to my mornings. I often absentmindedly click on Ad Sense to check my photography blog's page views or scan through the randomness of articles on my Flipboard (a mix of home improvement, crafts, news, education, and Star Trek articles).

First robins came today. When they arrive, they ALL arrive.

Camera: My favorite feature of my smartphone vs. dumbphone is the camera. From 2011-2014 I participated in a daily photography challenge, and most of those pictures were with my "big camera," my Canon DSLR (first the T1i, later the 70D). While the quality of images is not the same with my smartphone camera, for most of the situations when I use it, it isn't that critical. (While snapping a quick shot of the first robins this morning, for example, it would be nice to have my zoom lens, but the photo is more about the moment than a lasting image.)

Camera Apps: Along with using the smartphone camera came learning some smartphone camera apps. I regularly use Snapseed to adjust and crop pictures, and I made a private Instagram account that is linked to my Chatbooks account. Chatbooks are tiny, inexpensive 6x6" photo books that automatically print every 60 pictures. I love that they are a low-impact way to print and save photos, and I can add longer captions and commentary as I go. (Self-promo: if you are interested and use this referral link, you get your first $8 book for free, and I get a small referral bonus.)

So here's where I take a moment to stop and reflect. How many of these apps, devices, and technologies did I use even just a year ago? How many existed just five years ago? Or ten? (Or fifteen when I was in college?) By the time my seventh graders are in college themselves, how many will still be around? What will their digital lives look like?

(Click here to read my previous Slice of Life Challenge posts.)


  1. I remember thinking how stupid an iPad was. Who needs something like that when they can just sit with a laptop?? Well, I've now owned three iPads in my life and can't imagine not having one. Funny how perspective changes!

  2. A couple of years ago I had printed up photos for the kids, and they asked how I did that. They were so used to just looking at photos on phones that they didn't realize you could actually print them on paper!

  3. I am, sadly, lost when I don't have my smart phone for company. I even use it to watch TV at bedtime!

  4. I was just talking with a friend who recently started teaching at the college level after being a lawyer. We were thinking about how technology has changed so much since we were college students. Wonder how much tech they use during lectures in college? Interesting Slice!

  5. Indeed it does make a snappy title. Useful reflection and comparative self-inventory -- I dare say anyone using tech over time should do likewise. My only suggestion would be to include IOT (Internet of Things) of things devices. Excellent post idea.

    Just one device, a Chromebook at present, is all I can afford, but I use many apps, platforms, tools. On top of that, rural connection issues keep me on the downside of the Digital Divide (good I think to remember that it still exists) even if no longer on dial-up (which I was longer than most),

    Yes, there are devices I want but can't manage all of them so must weigh my decision carefully.


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