Washing out the techno blues

7th January 2005 at 00:00
There's one of those in here, you know." A slight cold sweat breaks out but I stand my ground.

"Really? Even in here?" I can hear it humming, see the pale lilac light it emits when resting. I'd mistakenly assumed that such a tiny room at the top of the school in the farthest corner of the oldest part of the building would have been exempt. Wrong.

So, with a deep breath I enter, making the mistake of looking into it directly. Its bright light blinds me momentarily. Fumbling, I point the remote and it dies, hanging above my head, its lens blank like the eye of Big Brother. Nervously I glance up, wondering if I'm insured should it fall on my head.

I know I should embrace change and be grateful for the investment but such a technological leap taken so quickly has caught me off guard. On Inset day I only left my room to collect some exercise books and when I returned there was a black and silver beast of a PC slap bang in the middle of my desk, looking like it owned the place.

No more board pens now. It's all interactive boards and DVD players. Trying to write with the interactive pen is like learning to write all over again; my writing looks crude and wobbly but it is strangely exciting to be able to alter the colour of it at the touch of its nib.

Now we receive emails along with the scraps of paper in pigeonholes. Yet I receive so many emails; who has time during the day to type them all? I have received an email asking me if I had received the previous email. I type "no" and send it back churlishly.

Soon we'll have stopped talking altogether. Colleagues stroll the corridors with Palm Pilots; I still clutch my bulging paper diary. I have filing cabinets, they have a box of floppies.

There was I thinking I was fairly au fait with technology. I was one of the select few who could not only change the bulb in the overhead projector but could photocopy on to transparencies without melting them inside the copier. Respect due. Now I am a technological Luddite.

End of the day in the staff kitchen. Several heads are stuck inside the new dishwasher, puzzling over how to make it work. I step forward confidently, pouring in liquids, explaining programmes, pushing buttons. It hums into life. Colleagues look impressed.

Confidence boosted and restored. Maybe I will tackle Excel after all.

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