Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blue Screen of Death

THIS JUST IN: The computer age is a sham!

I literally spent the entire day teaching ten-year-olds how to save documents and view powerpoints and find things on the computer menu. I realize that I am a fetus myself, but these kids are zygotes: they have literally never known a time without computers. Shouldn't they be teaching me? An assignment that consisted of four research questions was unfinished after 25 minutes because by the time they opened two documents and a web browser we were out of time. I was shocked.

I discussed it with the TA, and she said that although the kids occasionally get computer time in school, it always consists of clicking on a link that is provided for them and then playing an educational video game. Are we really not teaching kids how to use computers for things other than Starfall? This was not a particularly well-to-do school, and the TA mentioned that there were families who could not afford home computers, but I feel like this is one area where the school should pick up some of the slack. How can we be sending kids to middle school with no idea how to do anything except log on and off of a PC? That seems irresponsible to me. These are kids who will be in college using technology we can't even imagine, and yet we're not even giving them the basic skills to take advantage of today's inventions? Have they even seen a Mac*?!

To this day I still consider typing to be the most useful class I took in high school. If nothing else, it shaves accumulated hours off my blogging time each year. But more than that, when writing papers it allows me to get my (cleaned up) thoughts on paper almost as quickly as I think them. (Assuming I'm not drunk... then most of my thoughts are typed exactly like they sound in my head: "whaatthe geiull tarte wegteackinggh theseafegt kkpdisds?????????!!!!!!!111!!!!!>????" #20somethingproblem) I'm just saying, I know I complained that these kids are still on subtraction in third grade (the TA confirmed that this school is behind others in the county), but computer skills are the most unquestionably useful knowledge these kids could take away from school. They will all need those skills down the line. Maybe instead of cramming fifty thousand word webs into the day, we could spend 15 minutes a day working on things like, "This is a word document. You type in it. This is how you open a document. Say it with me class: Ctrl+O. This is how you save it. Say it with me class: Ctrl+S. Good!"

Anyway. I'd hate to cut this rant/ode to computer overlords short, but I have to go play trivia with my roommate. If only smartphones were allowed...

*Yes, that was my tribute to Steve Jobs. Thanks, bro.

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