…we’ve reached the point in our (disparate) cultural adaptation to computing and communication technology that the younger technical generations are so empowered they are impatient and ready to jettison institutions most of the rest of us tend to think of as essential, central, even immortal. They are ready to dump our schools.
And about time! Cringely’s of my generation (well a little younger) and makes his point well about the chasm between technology use by different generations. While I may sometimes chuckle and wrying shake my head when my octogenarian father describes his (do note: successful) struggles to master his computer and make it a useful part of his lifestyle, my children, I’m sure, chuckle to themselves and wryly shake their heads at my abandonment of my cell phone and lack of any desire whatsoever to “text”.
But Cringely goes beyond the obvious divide in different generations’ integration of new technologies as genuinely useful parts of their lives and notes a specific impact of the effect on education.
These are kids who have never known life without personal computers and cell phones. But far more important, there is emerging a class of students whose PARENTS have never known life without personal computers and cell phones. The Big Kahuna in educational discipline isn’t the school, it is the parent. Ward Cleaver rules. But what if Ward puts down his pipe and starts texting? Well he has.
Speaking about the shift from knowing stuff to Googling stuff–yeh, who hasn’t “put down” that eBook to do a quick search on “Albegensian” or whatever? *heh* I picked that because I already knew a bunch about that word’s historical implications from “old guy” stuff rattling around in my head… and still did a search on the term some months ago. Google is sometimes better than memory, you know–Cringely notes:
This is, of course, a huge threat to the education establishment, which tends to have a very deterministic view of how knowledge and accomplishment are obtained – a view that doesn’t work well in the search economy. At the same time K-12 educators are being pulled back by No Child Left Behind, they are being pulled forward (they probably see it as pulled askew) by kids abetted by their high-tech Generation Y (yes, we’re getting well into Y) parents who are using their Ward Cleaver power not to maintain the status quo but to challenge it.
Read the whole thing for a twist you might not see coming… 😉
h.t. Jerry Pournelle’s Mail. Drop by. Read. And wish Dr. Pournelle well.
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