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SCC Instructor Releases Book About Technology

SCC instructor, Rod Scher, recently wrote a book about the history of technology.

After writing about technology for years in magazines, Southeast Community College instructor Rod Scher took it a step further and published a book about it.

The book, “Leveling the Playing Field: The Democratization of Technology,” examines how different technologies began in the hands of a few, ended up in the hands of many, and how they changed the world along the way.

“I suspect there isn’t anyone who won’t find something in this book that they’re interested in,” Scher said.

Scher explores different technologies such as computers, drones and smart phones and traces them back to early foundations such as fire and language. He said access to all these things started off as very limited, but eventually trickled down and created a level playing field.

“Technology can be any tool used to build, create, retrieve, repair, or modify any object, or for that matter, any other technology,” he said.

While barriers have been removed and technology is now democratized, there’s also a negative side. While we have empowered the “good guys,” we also have empowered the “bad guys.” For example, a blog can inform those in need, or it can publicize hatred and lies. A 3D printer can be used to print guitars to create music, or weapons to cause harm.

Another example he uses is drones. They have come a long way and can be useful for many things, but they can also be used to violate safety and privacy. A large drone could potentially harm or kill someone. They can also be used to spy on people without their knowledge.

“What we need to do is regulate their use in order to enhance safety and protect privacy,” Scher said.

Scher has been an adjunct instructor at SCC for around 11 years. He teaches reading, writing and business communication courses. Originally from the West Coast, Scher relocated to Lincoln when the educational software company he founded, StudyWare, Inc., was purchased by Cliffs Notes.

He has written for numerous technology magazines and was editor at Smart Computing Magazine. He currently works at Sandhills Publishing, in addition to his teaching duties at SCC.

Scher was annotating (when someone adds notes to the text or summarizes certain parts of the book) another book when the publishing company was sold to a larger publisher. Once he pitched the idea for a book about democratizing technology, he got lucky.

“It was really serendipity,” he said.  “When I pitched it to the senior editor, he said he had a publisher who was interested.”

Things went pretty fast after that, he said. He got a book advance to start writing and was finished in about a year. The editing process took another year. He spent any and all of his free time writing in his basement.

“I did not have a life,” he joked. “You have to be willing to devote that time and effort.”

Since then he’s had book signings, spoken in front of book clubs and even made a remote appearance for an international PC group. He wants to be clear though, that this book is not just for technology nerds.

“The feedback I’ve received is it’s surprisingly readable,” he said. “The title is a little misleading. I like to think it’s a very readable book with an informal, journalistic approach and a little humor.”

Scher has some other ideas for future book topics, including technology warfare and survivalists (people who believe a catastrophic disaster is likely to happen and actively prepare for it.) He said one thing he learned from writing the first book is he would take more time to write it.

“A year sounded like forever,” he said. When given the deadline by the publisher, “I thought, how hard can it be?” But it came faster than he thought it would.

“You need more time if you want to do a decent job.”

In the meantime, he will soon retire from his full-time job, continue to teach online, and travel back to the West Coast, where he calls home.


For more information contact:
Andrea Gallagher Haggar
Marketing Specialist