Once a Luddite, Not Always a Luddite

If you would’ve asked me about taking an online course a few years ago, there’s a good chance I would’ve chuckled and even scoffed at the idea. I’m that kid in the class that refuses to take notes on her computer. I prefer the old-fashioned way–pen and paper. As a student attending a modern school in the 21st century, I obviously am not opposed to technology, and I graciously accepted the iPad my math teacher gave me for Calc this year. But I don’t go out of my way to do things the “technology” way: If a teacher doesn’t require taking notes on a computer, you can bet I’ll be using a notebook. To be quite honest, technology most of the time just confuses me and brings about too many complications, and I find myself even more frustrated with a process that’s supposed to be made easier. So last year, I even surprised myself when I elected to take the online course. I made the decision to try something new, and while it can be difficult at times, I’m glad I challenged myself. This site‘s page, titled “What I Wished I’d Known Before Taking an Online Course,” enumerates tips and tricks for handling an online class. And this page lists the disadvantages and advantages to taking an online course, which I found pretty relatable.

ImageAfter having been in AP Government for almost a month now, I can confidently say that I have finally mastered Voice thread, and it’s definitely my personal biggest accomplishment so far. I’m proud of myself for putting in the effort to learn how new and interesting technologies function, and using tools like Drop box and the discussion forums. I’m glad that I leapt out of my comfort zone, that I traded the world of loose leaf paper and whiteboards for Google hangout and Vimeo. As I’ve mentioned, it wasn’t always this way. In the beginning of the year, or really up until about last week, I found myself getting frustrated with the online course’s technologies–it wasn’t easy learning how to create an online Google slideshow presentation with a group of four other girls from across the world. However, more recently, I’ve learned that patience is the best virtue. Patience is an essential when dealing with technology–which I think is quite ironic because technology is supposed to make everything faster and more efficient. I’ve noted, so far, that an online course requires a completely different mindset to approach learning.

In my opinion, the easiest of the online tools we use is Google docs, just because I’m so familiar with it already from my classes last year. I also really appreciate the accessibility of the other students taking the online course…I thought it would be very difficult to reach everyone in my class, but I feel like as the weeks go by I’m getting to know everyone even better, through the discussions and comments we post online. It’s a pleasant surprise that I can get to really know girls from completely different states and backgrounds from me. The most difficult part of AP Government is the same thing: talking to the other girls in my class. Because we all are form different time zones, it can be pretty frustrating to connect with someone from across the country. But I optimistically see this as an opportunity to try something new and different. I’m taking note of everything I’m leaning–like when I have a group project assigned for the weekend, it might not good idea to email everyone else in my group Sunday afternoon. Taking an online class is definitely not easy–it’s like a rollercoaster–but I think that I’m all buckled in and ready to continue the journey.

For anyone with a similar problem to mine, I highly recommend this tutorial on how to use Google docs. It’s a lifesaver; from insignificant problems a technologically inept grandmother would ask her grandchild to more complicated matters appropriate for our class.

Image source: http://www.bigtimeattic.com/blog/2007/02/i-wish-someone-would-invent-luddite.html


  1. Ariana, I love your attitude toward trying something new without losing who you are in the process. As a teacher that likes to use tech in the classroom I appreciate your willingness to try. I also appreciate how you understand what works best for you.

    This post will be featured on Comments4Kids.com tomorrow. I hope other teachers embrace their students that have similar needs.

    Mr. C


    • @wmchamberlain: thank you so much for commenting! It’s definitely important for students and teachers to maintain a line of communication regarding what struggles the student is facing with an online class–so far, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a teacher who always is willing to respond to questions and concerns we have, and it’s really encouraging to know you’re not alone.


  2. Great post. I have to say that learning how to work with a global team could be one of the most important things to master. In fact Mr.Gwaltney and I have never actually met (in person) but we have worked together on several projects using a few of the tools that you mentioned (Google+ and Hangouts).

    While your investment now will directly help your work in AP Government and Politics, it will drastically give you a fantastic foundation for working in todays world. Keep experimenting and enjoy the ride!


    • @rbowse: thanks for your comment! While at times it can be difficult, I’m looking forward to challenging myself further in this class.


  3. Arianna,
    I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I am right there with you on having a hard time transferring from paper and pen to google docs. Online classes are very time consuming and they really require you to be responsible for all kinds of things such as turning in projects to simply making a post in the allotted time slot. I loved that you said it requires patience even though technology is supposed to make things faster. I think you have an excellent incite to where education is going. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors in this ever growing technological age!
    Caitlin Hinton


    • @Caitlin: It’s great to get another student’s perspective. It’s important that we all share our experiences as we progress technologically. Thank you so much for commenting!


  4. Hello Ariana,

    My name is Demetrius Hamner. I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. If anyone would have asked me, back in my high school days, about online classes I would have reacted in the same way. I love technology, but when it came to learning I needed to be in an actual classroom with a teacher. Now I understand just how important technology is in the classroom. Learning how to use “unfamiliar” technology may sometimes be difficult, but it will pay off big time. I am very happy that you stepped outside of your comfort zone and took an online class. It is always good to be open-minded to learning things. Google docs are also something that was introduced to me a few weeks back and it truly is a life saver.

    Continue to be patient and open-minded. If you want to contact me here is my blog address.


    • @Demetrius: thank you for your comment! I agree that while having a classroom setting is comfortable more natural, it’s important to understand how influential technology has become.


  5. Hello Ariana, my name is Dominique Jones, I am student at the University of South Alabama class EDM310. I am a junior and this is my first time having an online class. I thought it would be easy but it can be frustrating at times and it is a big responsibility to keep up with your work. But I am slowly but surely learning the ropes and being patient does plays a key role. I actually love taking notes on paper I personally think it helps me learn the information better. But everyone learns differently. In EDM310 we recently started to use Google docs and i really enjoy it. It is easy to communicate and I like the fact someone else can edit your work. It is great to hear that more schools are teaching students to use and become comfortable with using technology more because they did not use it as much when I was in high school. Also, you will be more comfortable in college since you already know how to use it. Good luck with everything!

    Here is my blogif you would like to check it out.


    • @Dominique: I agree that online classes require a lot on the student’s part. It does get easier as the weeks go by, and like you said, it’s so important to prepare for college. Thank you for commenting!


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