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Generally Recognized As True: February 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Old person, come over here and teach my kids how to use technology

Kids wouldn't grow up knowing how to use technology unless they had a bunch of old people around to show them how it all works.

It sounds silly, but that seems to be the perpetual position of the public education system. I don't understand why it's not challenged more often, especially considering the expense of outfitting schools with "technology" and keeping it constantly upgraded.

There are some parallels between this and the notion of an undergraduate business administration degree. You come out of school with a business administration degree but no real business to administer when you get there. Business is something you wrap around a basic competence to make it saleable, not really a competence in itself. Professional management may have something to say about that, but I've never seen anything of quality come from an arrangement like that.

Likewise, kids have technology all covered. If you teach them nothing about it, they'll grow up somehow knowing how to use it because they have an interest and because it's now required to functional socially. But what they won't necessarily know about is how to do productive or useful things with it, and this seems to be a topic quite separate from use of the technology itself.

What would an old person more likely be able to help a child with? How to use a computer, or how to go about asking the right questions, thinking critically, and entering into meaningful experience?

It seems like schools could forever guide these timeless abilities without ever having a computer enter their classroom. It'd be cheaper, and probably more beneficial. The kids would figure out how to get it into the computer. It's more of a challenge for the old person.

Can it really be true that the reason such an "old-fashioned" idea fails to gain traction is that there's more effort involved, yet so little opportunity for graft?

Bygone days, indeed.

Everyone has opinions on education because everyone went to school at some point in their life, so that makes it even more surprising to me that the above idea doesn't have more currency.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The raven that refused to sing

More and more, I'm finding that I can agree with certain new music but not with the way it's recorded, and not with how the life and blood is squeezed out of it by having all of the knobs turned up, the dynamics expunged, and all oxygen in the room consumed so that there's no space for anything else.

This is most apparent with the 80s revival currently taking place. It looks, moves, and sounds a lot like the 80s, but it doesn't feel like it. It's too close to your eardrums, and the space between the music and your eardrums is where feeling settles in (I assume illicit drugs can overcome this temporarily [see: techno music, clubbing]).

It's all just too loud.

Here's one that gets it right: