Monday, September 5, 2011
- No no sit down. No, no!!!
- Please, if you sit down, you will have an ice-cream.
- No! NO sit down!
Parental exasperation, last resort.
Parent takes out iPhone. Two year old looks triumphant and sits down immediately.
- EiEiO, EiEiO!
Instantly the toddler is transformed, she is in a state of transe-like flow.
-Old Macdonald had a farm, EiEiO!
That App cost me three or four euros but it's worth every centime. If I had tried singing every nursery rhyme I know, my daughter would have ended up standing on the restaurant table, in the ice-cream.
- No! No sit!
I am quite sure that we don't all bond with the same objects around us in the same way, so it is very difficult to judge technology objectively. For some kids, it's a handkerchief, for others a teddy, but heaven forbid that you should forget the object of love and its importance for the loved one.
As far as I can see, the smartphone to this toddler appears principally to be an interactive nursery ryhme. To me, it is an essential professional tool for learning, teaching and networking.
For my colleagues at work, there are those who appear desperately attached to their cassettes, the photocopier, the cardboard folders, books and all and I can only say that I am beginning to feel empathy for their apparent resistance to another age.
The other day, in a frenzy of domestic space rationalisation my wife threw out all the CD boxes for my CD's. After all, who should give two hoots for plastic boxes? You still have the music and the sleeve notes.
Oh reader, my despair! For me, the joy was in the gestures; reaching out to the box, turning it around in my hands, feeling the slight designed-in resistance on opening the lid....The Cure! Boys Don't Cry!
All of this brings me back to the day I saw a TV presenter spread jam on a CD in order to demonstrate how relatively indestructible a slice of music this would be. It must have been in the 80's when I had time to listen to my music.... My two year old did the same test recently, I feel frankly that I have been conned.
I don't go for music downloads, I am like many of my teaching colleagues. It's not that I can't see that my students think me absurd for actually buying CD's but I suppose I am of another time. I have too many memories...
It is not that we cannot see that we should perhaps move on and keep up. Reason is what makes us grumpy. Giving up that which makes one feel secure, takes time and gentle encouragement. We don't like being dictated to, particularly when it comes to our tools (comfort blankets...)
Kids are generally pretty good at helping their parents to evolve. They are only too happy to show them what they know how to do. They have the time, peer support network, and curiosity to learn how stuff works. They have less or no nostalgia for the old ways of doing things. Their time is coming.
Now teachers, I feel we have to find some way to compromise here, to own up that it's ok to have teddy bears, to know nursery ryhmes. The kids wil help us learn, or they will learn quite happily for us, if we let them.
We all need to have confidence in our need for security and to let go. We are living in a different epoque but Old Macdonald still has his farm, with pigs, horses, donkeys, and sheep...
Sometime in the future
- When I was a kid we used to have a thing I loved. I think they called it an iPhone. But I called it EiEiO...
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