Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why I'm Not an Apple Fan (but it's okay that you are) PT 3

This is part 3 in a 3 part series. You can see part 1 here and part 2 here.

Image: OpenClipArt.org
I have written about how I'm not a fan of Apple, and also not a fan of Microsoft. It's a personal bias, a reflection of my own experiences. I don't hold it against people who choose to purchase from these companies; it's just not for me.

I am, however, very pro-Google. I understand how Google makes money from me, and to be honest, I'm okay with that. I don't mind that Google watches what I'm doing in order to target me with relevant advertising. Someone I know (and I won't mention her by name) isn't, and my advice is to choose not to use Google services. But to make that choice, one has to be careful. Google isn't the only company watching what you're doing.

However, in my experience, it's likely that they are the best at it.That's what their quarterly reports would indicate. And to be honest, I'm not looking for a handout here. Yes, I use gmail, google drive, blogger (you're reading this, aren't you?) and all sorts of other services provided by Google. The total cost to me so far? Zero dollars. I don't mind paying for these services by allowing Google to tailor advertisements to my interests. To be honest, I'd much rather see an ad related to education than one showing the latest fancy car. The way I look at it, I'm going to be seeing ads, so they might as well be ones that might interest me. In a way, Google's doing me a bit of a favour by weeding out all the stuff I don't really care about, and I'm getting great services for free at the same time.
Android OS
Image: WikiMedia Commons


Google Glass.
Image: Wikipedia
They've also become one of the best (in my opinion) at encouraging users to innovate. They routinely release their code and encourage consumers to hack. They've done this with Google Glass, the Chromium OS, and my personal favourite, Android OS.
Not to say that I'm a developer. Not at all. But if I wanted to, I could be. If I can think up some new way of using a piece of hardware, Google has often made that possible. And the way I see it, if I can dream up something new, there's a good chance that someone smarter than me has already tried it and gotten it working.

Chromium
Image: WikiMedia Commons
This way of doing things allows the community to contribute to their experience. In education, it's what I would term "student-driven learning." It's focused on the user experience, and gives us a voice in how we want to use our devices.

Ultimately, it boils down to a simple question of philosophical alignment. I strive to get my students to see that they have a voice in their education; why wouldn't I want to choose a product that encourages me to have a voice too?