I just got done typing a post on a forum for a game I play on my iPad. The thread was about rules for the multiplayer environment of the game.
In the course of writing that post, I opened a Safari tab to look up a particular homophone, another tab to pull up a copy of the U.S. Constitution, another to read the Wikipedia entry for “Strict Constructionism”, and the Dictionary app.
All for a simple few-paragraph forum post, so I could clearly and authoritatively articulate my opinion on the topic.
As minuscule as it seems, that is technology at its finest. All the knowledge of the world at your finger tips. Instead of avoiding the homophone and choosing a different word, I learned what it was. Instead of writing a sloppy sentence, I was able to construct one that alluded to the parallelism of the Constitution’s preamble. Instead of speaking ignorantly, and to better understand my own opinions, I read the Wikipedia entry on “Strict Constructionism” and was reminded the term used to describe the competing philosophy, “Original Intent”.
What fascinates me most is how I use technology in this way without even realizing it. There’s almost no conscious consideration in the decision to open a Safari tab mid-sentence to research something relevant to the sentence’s next word.
And yet schools, kindergarten through high school (even some higher education), fail to teach these kinds of skills and habits, and instead focus on the limited potential of sheer memorization.
It’s an amazing new world. Embrace it.