I love how technologists love to brandish the term “ease of use” like it’s some sort of badge of honor. Here’s what I’ve found out, most people dislike being told “this is easy” when they are learning new technology. The irony is not lost on me, since if it was so easy, why am I teaching it.
This leads into something that I’ve begun to realize. There is no easy. Life is hard, difficult, and the lessons can be harsh. Technology is no different. Take the iPhone for example. Seven years ago it was hailed as an easy to use smartphone. Part of that ease of use came from the fact that it didn’t do much. You didn’t have to know how to copy and paste, since it couldn’t do that. There was no app store, so you didn’t have to learn how to install and remove apps. No notifications to learn how to control. No multitasking of apps to learn how to switch between. No privacy controls. Etc. All of these have now been added to iOS, making it more complicated but more useful device.
Unfortunately, this makes it even more difficult to learn how to use technology effectively. There will always be something new to learn tomorrow. When I’m working with teachers I’m often asked why I don’t have all of this “how to use” tips written down. The problem is that I could talk for a day on just all the features that Google GMail has, and still not hit everything you can do with it. Teach Like a Hacker started as a way to demonstrate alternative uses of the technology teachers already know, and use that as a stepping stone.