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Edtech

Are you ever satisfied?

When it comes to materials I use for my daily instruction, I am constantly revising, reviewing, adding, subtracting, and innovating at the same time. The work never ends. And I suppose that’s a good thing, because if it did, I’d be bored!

Speaking if which, this new website. For years I worked on websites to use with my instruction, and to enhance learning. My first website, innocently enough, was back in 1995 in Sweden as a tenth grader at Ängelholms gymnasieskola, when I and a team of students wrote a few pages on permafrost after having interviewed some scientists at the University of Lund. Straight coding in html, many hours switching back and forth, uploading, downloading, fixing, tweaking – just to get it ‘that way’.

I had a couple of other websites after that, mainly for personal reasons, and just to have a website to call my own. I used MS FrontPage to do most of the coding, but still had to work out problems and tweaks using code. I remember fondly having to manually code nested tables – what a joy! Not so much…

A few years ago, when starting grad school for teaching, I decided it was time to set up something real, something that I could build on for the future. It was also the time when I made the important switch from the doom & gloom world of PCs, and came to the see reality for what it was, and bought my first Mac. You know what they say: “Once you go Mac…”

I bought the domain name www.eajohansson.net after much lamenting on what to call it, where to host it, etc. My first host was probably not located in the US, which made tech support rough, and their ftp structure was awkward. This was also before the new, nice automated systems. I switched to Hostmonster, which is what I still have today, and have never looked back.

Since beginning teaching, I have adapted a few ideologies when it comes to technology (more on that in another post). One of them essentially describes my way of adopting technology, and what criteria must be met before I do. One such criteria is ease of use. Constructing and maintaining a website used for teaching must be easy. Otherwise, it never gets used, updated, maintained, improved – all that good stuff that makes it worth it. It’s sort of like teaching really – the ‘stuff’ has to be maintained, in fear of losing the edge.

So, back to the question then. Am I ever satisfied? The simple answer is ‘no’. I constantly find myself working on the work, innovating, adding, updating, or tweaking to get things right. I’m also all about solving problems. Hence the move to using WordPress for the new website.

I used RapidWeaver for the other website, and while it’s an excellent program, much like DreamWeaver on the PC, it’s limited to the hardware. I had to be on my MacBook to edit the website, which wasn’t a problem 90% of the time, but who’s content with only 90%? I love being able to edit stuff on the fly – from my iPhone, from the lab, from grandma’s, wherever. And I think it makes my life easier that way – no more constraints on the maintenance. Problem solved.

Will I ever be satisfied? With anything? Maybe. Maybe not. At least not while I’m teaching, and that seems to be a life-long thing…