A coworker told me recently they were now requiring students at her kid’s high school to have a cell phone/android/iphone/whatever to bring to class so the students could download educational apps. It’s an experimental program and I guess the administration figured 97% of students already had cell phones and were creating a nuisance due to the kids using them incessantly during class, so the school figured if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. The rule is that your cell phone has to stay on top of your desk and you can’t text or talk on them during class.
This same coworker told me they don’t teach cursive in their school district either. I gather this is quite common as schools across the country have instead focused on teaching kids keyboard skills, rather than handwriting. This same forward-thinking school has significantly reduced their library book holdings and invested the money into more computer terminals so students can learn to google their questions instead of look them up in reference books.
There is logic behind these moves to embrace technology. The reality is that these kids will likely use/rely on keyboarding, iphoning, and google skills far more than the analog counterparts. But it’s a cosmic law that energy expended towards one thing must necessarily come at the expense of something else. Am I being overly paranoid in suggesting we’re overlooking the more basic survival skills; skills necessary to get by if the Power Ever Goes Out? We catch tiny glimpses of this during those exceptional circumstances when we lose power during a storm or other emergency. Life without electricity or modern amenities is novel and even a fun at first, but gets progressively more oppressive as time passes.
Something we often like to ignore is the fact that the process of civilization undergoes ebbs and flows, and times of crisis/downfall have regularly punctuated our ascent at various times and places throughout history and pre-history. It has not been one continuous steady climb upwards. Are we doing our children a disservice by making no preparation or provision against catastrophic failure?
Have you ever watched Frontier House, Colonial House, or the like? Lots folks of folks don’t do well with their modern skills on those shows. How well do you think you’d fare if the power ever went out for an extended period (as in so long you don’t know if/when it will be restored)?