Interview with 21-year-old Techie Brian Petersen

Note: this is an assignment for my Master’s course at K-State, EDCI 718: Learning Technologies, taught by Dr. Rosemary Talab. The interview took place 1/31/10.

Assignment Description
Interview a "technology-savvy" student at the K-12 or college level.  Ask the questions [mine are bold] and then write them up in about a page.

Brian with my dog, Abby (bigger)
The tech-savvy student I interviewed was my wife's brother, Brian Petersen. He's a junior in advertising here at K-State and is, in my opinion, extremely tech-savvy. Over holiday breaks he'll typically be working on someone's computer, be it his, my in-laws', or his grandparents. I know how to install software, but Brian builds computers and can fix all sorts of hardware issues as well.

Straight up, he's one of those people it's good to know.

Also have you heard of the K-State Techbytes web site? Yeah, Brian created it. He did the programming and even all the designing, such as his masterful Photoshop-job with the header. And now he is in charge of updating it weekly.

Brian built the TechBytes website.
The interview is below. We did this over the phone so I'll do some direct-quoting of what Brian said, but mostly I'll paraphrase in first-person, pretending I'm him. I'll base these fake Brian quotes on the handwritten notes I took while holding my cell with my shoulder. Geez THAT'S why my neck's so sore now... but the quoted parts are EXACT statements I recall him saying.


What technologies do you use to communicate?
At the research and extension office (Umberger Hall) we're on our computers all the time so the quickest way to talk to coworkers is through email. With friends and family I don't really use email, I'd rather text or call them with my cell phone. I don't use a landline (laughs). I'm not really into facebook but I do have an account. I play Xbox a lot and I can communicate through that using the headset but I don't typically.

How often do you use technology? On a daily basis?
Oh every day, definitely. I'm on my computer all day at work (I asked Brian if he's ever NOT on his computer at work... he said "no"). I do a lot with Adobe Software there at work. But during class I don't take my laptop, just "my good ol' pen and paper." Once I get home I'm on my Xbox quite a bit or else watching TV or DVDs. That or my iPod touch.

Are communications used differently by people your age as opposed to adults?
Well like I said I don't use Facebook too much but most people my age do. (Brian agreed that more and more adults are using Facebook than they used to, so this gap is narrowing). I'd say adults use house phones more and people my age text each other more. That and we (younger people) use Xbox more. Many of the people here at work use Twitter, but it's usually for an organization and not them personally.

Brian's PC/Mac setup at his apt.
What are your favorite websites, gadgets, and other forms of communication? Why do you use them?
Favorite sites:
And I use K-State Online a lot, I guess you could call that a gadget. The reason I use these is "to be connected" to everything (I asked Brian if he does this similar to how people used to read the newspaper to maintain a connection with current events, and he agreed it's like that for him with these sites). That and these sites report on topics I'm interested in.

What do you think is the best way to use technology so that you learn more?
I learn well through K-State Online, more use of this would be good. One of my professors puts a lot of "content online, like links to research articles and the Powerpoints." (I asked Brian if he would like technology to "replace" his classes and he said he sees technology as a tool "to provide aide")

Brian and his dad Wii Bowling.
How would you like to learn at school if money was no object?
I'd like it if teachers used K-State Online solely (at first I thought this contradicted the whole technology-as-an-aide point he made in the question above so I asked him to clarify). Well I'd like to have all the lectures online so I can watch them there and re-watch them if I need to. But I still think everyone should have to "go to class to take the exams. Otherwise people would just be sitting at home Googling to get the answers." (I said "so have in-person exams to keep everyone honest?" and he said "yeah exactly")

(End of interview)

Quick Sum
All in all I was on the phone with my "bro-law," as we affectionately refer to each other, for about 16 minutes. We did the interview and then BS'd about the new Apple iPad for a bit. Some might call Brian and Apple fanboy but I think he just loves technology. He'd tell you right away that he's not an expert on many things but computers are his thing for sure.

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