Tag Archives: jott.com

Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: An object lesson on a commute

Seven years ago, Marc Prensky coined the phrase “Digital natives, Digital immigrants” in an essay by the same name. He asserts our educational system was designed for a different student than the kids who come through the school doors today. Without getting into the finer points, Prensky’s analog is very apt. In a hightech age, Natives (under 18) speak the language of technology more fluently than immigrants (18+) and the educational infrastructure serves the latter, rather than the former.

I live north of New York City, As I travel to and from the city, cell phone service is intermittent at best on the parkways northbound out of the city. These parkways wind through some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the nation.  Why is it that cell phone service can not be facilitated through these corridors of capitalism? I mean Scarsdale(!), Westchester(!), and Greenwich(!) all have serious problems holding a cell signal.

Perhaps people don’t like ugly cell phone towers in their nice neighborhoods?  Perhaps too much investment in legacy infrastructure?  Perhaps most of these residents are Digital Immigrants. Many made their fortunes the old fashioned way; Ivy league school, fortune 500 company, put your head down for 40 years and get a place in the burbs free from the conveniences of modern life.  Who knows, but it is maddening for someone like myself to use copytalk or Jott.com as I travel through this digital wasteland, a place which chooses not to speak the native tongue of the 21st century. (on a side note – when I moved to the NY area seventeen years ago, these same neighborhoods were JUST getting cable tv. In the Western US, cable had been going for 15 years at that time)

Another recent encounter with a Digital Immigrants. I recently sat down with the entire faculty of a communications department at a major Southern university.  Most of the faculty did not have blogs, many did not know know the term ‘podcast’. Many looked down their nose at Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc, and yet these are the ones called to serve the students who ‘speak’ these digital technologies in a native tongue.  This was the COMMUNICATIONS department! Like me schlepping through legacy neighborhoods Westchester NY, our student’s literacy in digital things gets ‘dropped’ or ‘tuned’ out when they commute through the legacy neighborhoods of academia, teathered together by tenure.  This certainly is not the case in every school or every wealthy neighborhood, but I found it striking.

The digital native, digital immigrant thing is a spectrum, not a hard and fast pigeon holeable phenominon. I know 65 year old software coders. I also know 22 year-old Luddites. Look around. Are you a native or an immigrant? The contrast can be startling.

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Copytalk that, and Jott This Down: Secrets of the Mobile Blogger

If you are your own channel in the digital world, then any technology which makes it easier to spread your ideas and programming will be hotly lusted after. Today I recluctantly give up some secrets which have changed the way I work for ever.

But before I divulge, a short scenario;

You are driving. Slow commute or maybe a long road trip. You go into a semi-somnambulic state, staring mindlessly through your windshield. You get lost in your thoughts. The open loops of your life all present themselves. Soon you have an insight. An idea or a thought strikes like lightning, your mind races, seeing connections, synergies, or problems solved. Perhaps the exact words you should say to a boss, spouse or child come to you on the spot. Perhaps an idea for your next blog post. Perhaps the cure to cancer. Who knows. We’ve all been there. What do you do? If you are like me, in the past I’ve called in my brilliant idea and left a message on my own cell phone, or scribbled incoherent keywords on any paper I could find on the seat next to me.

Last month I had 127 such moments.

Good news is, I have them all in my email inbox under the “brilliant ideas” folder, as text files. And, here’s the best news, I didn’t have to key them in from my voice-mail. I didn’t outsource the keying-in via a virtual assistant or a dictation service, and most importantly I made these notes seconds after the idea presented itself.

This has made all the difference in keeping up on blog posts, on lesson plan ideas, on presentation concepts, and on and on.

My secret weapon? Copytalk.com and Jott.com.  Copytalk allows up to four mintues of speaking at a time, Jott only 15-30 seconds, but both deliver instant notation from a cell phone and the results show up in your inbox within the hour.

Jott.com is designed for short notes, copytalk.com for longer musings. Jott’s basic package is free. Copytalk starts at 80.00 per month.

I’m not getting any affliate cash from promoting these two companies. I’ve used them both variably over the past year and they have changed the way I work. I’ve scratched the surface of what can be done. Other benefits include text to speech, multiple emails broadcasts, transribing of mp3s, etc.

Check it out, and capture the essense of your great ideas as soon they pop into your head.

BTW, this post was created from my cell phone, and tweaked later in email. Nifty, eh?