Assignment #3

Stage 2 – Interview & Field Report

In this stage, you will select a person from a different generation than you to interview about how they have used technology throughout their lives. Be sure to consider both digital and non-digital technologies. You can choose someone older or younger than you, and you can talk with a relative or friend, or find someone outside of your immediate circles to interview. If you are choosing someone younger, be sure to choose someone old enough or mature enough to reflect thoughtfully on the impact of technology on themselves. After your interview, you will write a report highlighting three things you learned.

Your interview can be formal or informal. A formal interview has an established set of questions you have prepared ahead of time and do not deviate much from during the interview. An informal interview involves talking with someone about the topic in a more general way and asking specific questions as topics arise.

Some suggested questions to consider working into a formal or informal interview include:

  1. Do you associate any form of technology with a significant event or time in your life? Tell me more about that event or time.
  2. What kinds of non-digital technology do you frequently use or have frequently used throughout your life?
  3. Has there been any specific piece of technology in your life that helped transform the way you think about something in the world?
  4. How do you use technology in your everyday life? Your creative life? Your work life?
  5. Is there any specific digital or non-digital technology you would have a hard time living without? Why?
  6. How has technology changed throughout your life?
  7. Is there any technology you wish had not changed? Why?
  8. Has there been a specific form of technology that contributed to who you are today? Tell me more.
  9. How are you a different, better, worse, enhanced, safer, etc., person when you use a specific form of technology than when you don’t?
  10. How has your self-worth or self-conception been affected by technology?

You can modify these questions or ask other questions that are appropriate for your interview situation. The above list contains suggested starting points. The idea is to find connections between technology and your interviewee’s life experiences and self-identity.

After you conduct your interview, write a 750–1,000-word field report following these instructions:

  1. Write an introduction in which you briefly describe the person you interviewed. Include some general demographic information about them (year of birth, gender, where they live, etc.)
  2. Indicate the date the interview took place. This should be during the current semester.
  3. Identify and describe three things you learned from your interview about the impact of specific artifacts or kinds of technology on this person. Do not relay a transcript from your interview. Choose the three things you think are most relevant to the theme of technology and human experience and that you think had the greatest personal significance to your interviewee.
  4. Write a 5-7 sentence conclusion that reflects on your interviewee’s relationship with technology in general. You can consider some of the same kinds of things you did in Stage 1 about yourself. Would they be the same person they are today without a specific piece of technology? Did any of the technological artifacts they talk about change them during a specific time of their life? How is technology in general a part of who they are?

Answer: 

Introduction:

For this field report, I interviewed my neighbor, Mr. John, who is a 72-year-old retired school teacher. He was born in 1949 in a small town in the Midwest and currently lives in the same town with his wife. Mr. John has seen technology change drastically throughout his life, and I was interested to learn more about his experiences with it.

Date of Interview:

The interview took place on February 15, 2023.

Three Things I Learned:

  1. The Impact of Television on His Life:

Mr. John told me that when he was a child, his family did not own a television. However, in the early 1950s, when he was in his early teens, his family got their first television set. He remembers how excited he was to watch shows like “I Love Lucy” and “The Honeymooners.” He also mentioned that television helped him understand the world outside his small town. For example, he learned about the civil rights movement and space exploration through news programs and documentaries. Television helped him become more aware of the world around him and sparked his interest in learning more.

  1. The Impact of Personal Computers on His Career:

Mr. John’s teaching career spanned over 30 years, and he told me that the introduction of personal computers in the 1980s changed the way he taught. He recalled how he used to have to handwrite or type worksheets and tests for his students, but with the introduction of computers, he could easily create and print out materials. He also mentioned that computers allowed him to keep track of his students’ grades more efficiently. Mr. John said that he had to learn how to use computers when they were first introduced, but he was excited about the possibilities they offered for teaching.

  1. The Impact of Cell Phones on His Social Life:

Mr. John’s children gave him his first cell phone in the early 2000s. He was initially resistant to using it, but he eventually found that it helped him stay connected with his family and friends. He mentioned that he appreciated being able to call or text his grandchildren and keep up with their lives. He also liked that he could call his wife when he was out running errands to ask if she needed anything. Mr. John said that he did not know how he lived without a cell phone before, and he now carries it with him everywhere he goes.

Conclusion:

Through my interview with Mr. John, I learned that technology has played a significant role in his life. Television helped him become more aware of the world around him, personal computers changed the way he taught, and cell phones allowed him to stay connected with his loved ones. I could tell that technology had enriched his life in many ways, and he was grateful for the opportunities it had provided. Mr. John’s experiences showed me that technology has the power to impact our lives in many ways, both big and small.

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