Part III — Education and the New Technology (Conclusion)

(A recent interview with Rose Neilsen, the wife of Kenneth Neilsen, President of Woodbury University in California)

RN: Even when these young people communicate via Twitter or text on their phones, they use abbreviations which they understand and use to communicate. There have been a number of new words added in the dictionary in the last five years. If you asked someone from the older generation about these words, they would not even know what they mean. Kids learn anything when they are young — foreign languages, anything.

There is no such thing as being ignorant to this technology. The young people are growing up with it. But it is difficult for the older generation. Unless one keeps taking classes on these things, there is no way one can keep up. This is the young people’s world; it is a different world. We will not be around it in 20 years to see what happens. No one really knows and no one has a clue.

PB: It will have to continue.

RN: Yes, but we do not know the outcome. Are these children going to be more brilliant because they learned all this at a younger age? Or, have they been exposed to too much technology? They do not know how to play the basic games, like Monopoly or Checkers, which the older people did. Do you remember when we made our own telephones with string and two cans and we put paraffin on the wires?

PB: Yes, I do.

RN: We did all those fun things, and kids today do not even know what that is. Remember hopscotch? You drive around the neighborhoods today and you do not see kids playing out in their driveways like we did. They are inside playing on their computers. That is why most of our kids are now getting fat. We are having an obese society.

PB: So the downside is they are gaining weight because all they do is sit and play with the computer.

RN: And you wonder about their social skills. You see two kids walking down the street, on their cell phones. We communicated directly, face to face with people. We wrote nice letters.

PB: I do not think they write letters.

RN: It is a totally different world!

PB: Depending on how many kids you have.

RN: And all of this technology is expensive. And there will be a lot of kids left behind because their parents cannot afford all this technology. This is also a huge problem. We talk about losing our Middle Class. We talk about losing a whole group of people academically because of this huge gap.

I do not think we will know for 15 or 20 years. I may still be here, but I will be pretty old. But it is going to be so different. Think of the financial impact. Think of some of the people who will never be able to afford this. It is not their fault if they are never exposed to it.

PB: For awhile there was an international language — everyone spoke English.

RN: But think of the people who live in the United States and cannot speak English. But with these iPads, you can get books in any language you want.

PB: But what about the older people who need to know? How are they supposed to learn?

RN: Things that you learn on the iPad are not things you need to know. These things are just tools needed for research. I am talking about the young children who can learn the basic things, like their ABC’s, because it is all interactive. The iPads talk back to you, so it’s a two-way street.

I am going to run by my school and pick mine up and show it to you. I think you will enjoy the inter-activeness.

If you care to comment about this column, please email me at pattebarham@hotmail.com.

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