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Cultural Ecology

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Audrey Cisneros

on 15 September 2010

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Transcript of Cultural Ecology

Cultural Ecology:
My Technological Literacy [His Roots:] Much of my exposure to technology can be directly attributed to my father, as both direct and indirect sponsor. His cultural upbringing and socioeconomic past lead to an entrepreneurial future in the US, wherein success came by means of nothing less that hard work. He strongly believes that hard work, coupled with the necessary tools will open up many gateways. Arispa, Sonora Jose Luis Cisneros is one of five children born to Daniel and Eufrocina Cisneros. Born in Arispa, Sonora, he soon moved to Juarez, Mexico. In 1955, the Cisneros family moved to El Paso, TX. I’ve said it to you before, and I’ll say it again…all it takes is hard work. When the other guy is sleeping, your working and getting ahead. When others lack know how, you go and get it. Moving to El Paso meant we had an opportunity. My parents came to the states to give us a chance to have a better life than they ever did. My parents planted seeds of hard work and dedication in me from an early age. I failed a grade in elementary school not because I wasn’t smart, but because I didn’t speak the language. I struggled with English when we first come over but after about a year or so we picked it up. We knew learning English was essential; it was the tool we needed to do well in the US. I understood at a very young age that opportunity coupled with motivation and access was a recipe for success. The US represented a dream, and with some hard work, we lived it. Excerpts from an interview with my father,
Luis Cisneros What did moving to El Paso mean to you? How did your life change once in the US? What separates success from failure? “My first job began in blueprinting where I learned the ropes hands on. I had the motivation to learn within me and access to the information, guidance, and tools that allowed me to become an expert in the field.” My desire to do well was an ever present driving force pushing me to constantly learn at all times. As blueprinting and construction changed, so did my knowledge. In an effort to not be left behind the many emerging engineers I had to learn fast to keep up. As project director, I had lots of access to the new software available in my field of work. I played with it, learned it and became fluent with it. Not many men my age in this line of work can keep up. They either lacked motivation, or access. I was fortunate to have both. How important was/is access to information and technology? Of course. Hard work is something I knew my children would witness through myself and my wife. Your mother I and worked very hard to establish our own business alongside our respective jobs. Determination is something we very much so intended to plant within you and your brother. As equally as important as a solid work ethic was access to the “new” at the time. We provided you both with toys of the newest version, and when we moved into the technological age that is now; we made sure we provided you with as much of that as we could. Did your past experiences influence your future role as a father? As a child I remember having a clearly defined workspace. My desk, no matter where it was situated within my home, always represented a place to work. What defined worked changed with time, beginning with coloring and Lego building, then moving on to written homework and finally to my first introduction to technology, a Word Processor. The word processor sat on my desk and the diskettes and intruction manuals in the cubbyhole beneath. The seeds of determination, grown by way of encouragement, blossomed through access. My childhood experience greatly reflected my father’s belief in providing access to the tools necessary for “success.” His experience with technology throughout his own career translated into a deep seeded belief that technological skill equated success for our own education To my father, the word processor represented tool, like the English language in his youth, or computer software in his career. Having access to this tool would facilitate progressive learning and would help ensure I could “keep up.” Having a word processor encouraged learning in a variety of ways, some more obvious than others. Typing and digital documentation are among the obvious, but the not so obvious were the critical thinking and problem solving skills gained with the struggles of learning and managing new technologies. Technology was soon introduced in the classroom. Early introductions began with lessons over basic computer operations and typing. Soon after, technological curiosity was kept alive via computer games, namely Oregon Trail. In my experience, computer literacy was taught through less imaginative lesson plans, while computer games were a reward for some task well achieved. While the desktop computer and computer games were introduced within the classroom, the technological curiosity stayed and soon thereafter I received my first desktop at home. One major requirement in owning a personal computer was the necessity to learn to trouble shoot. My father required that we learn together how to operate and troubleshoot my personal computer. While I realize now that in early computer purchases I was not nearly as fluent as he, the process of learning technology in this way became habitual and remains with me today. Learning via manual reading helped theoretically while hands on learning helped situate and apply learned material. Technological proficiency was aided through the use of computer games as well. Like the manuals accompanying every new home computer, I was also required to install any new computer game purchased for my use. While this is far less of a hassle now, I clearly remember working through the command screen, command prompts, and inserting a dozen disks before we could begin to play. Trouble shooting any gaming issues was my responsibility as well. As school began to require more electronic literacy, there was a shift in my use of my home computer from gaming to more serious tasks required of me. I believe this satisfaction of completing technological tasks, even as simple as installing my own games, gave me the confidence to explore any future technological issues. In my life time, I have outlived five different desktop computers and three different laptops. I have worked through MS DOS and through the Windows NT family which ranged from Windows 97-2003, XP, Vista, and now 7. Navigating though many of these early operating systems was far less intimidating as I believe as it could have been should I had not been able to explore at home, in my comfortable work/learning zones. I was able and encouraged to explore at home through basic access to the technology. The relationship my father and I shared with technology was slowly transitioning from less explorative and more utilitarian. My ability to explore technology from an early age, within the comfort of my home and work space where exploration was encouraged and errors went unpunished greatly influence the way I experienced, viewed, and approached technology. As an adult, I am less intimidated by technology, but I am curious if it. I am always learning, willing to explore and for the most part can learn the basics through trial and error. As a citizen of this digital age, I understand that more important than the ability to maneuver through technology is the ability to utilize it as a tool. Technology for the sake of technology is virtually useless, if it doesn’t serve a purpose. Like my father before me, I strongly encourage technological literacy with my son and I facilitate this literacy by providing access to current technology at home. He too has a situated work space within my home where he is encouraged to work/play. His work space is vastly different than mine was at his age as he has a laptop with accompanying “learning games.” While he does not have internet access on his laptop, under supervision he is encouraged to play educational games online on my computer. Early educational gaming has promoted multimodal learning as well as provided an understanding of basic computer skills. Due to this environment of exposure and support he has shown little hesitation in terms of technological curiosity and has learned to adapt to different operating systems with relative ease. I believe that in providing a place where curiosity is encouraged in a punishment free working zone and access to tools is available creates a “safe” learning environment where trial and error is the norm, and error is seen an opportunity to learn. This kind of learning experience through technology could easily translate into other areas of his life making learning positive and progressive.
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