TBH, a little LOL goes a long way

Traditional Book and Paper and Pencil Education versus Technology-based learningA section of people believes in sticking to traditional methods of educating our students. A “defiant” sector thinks that technology based learning is the way to further our kids to the 21st century. You can also find in the spectrum a portion of advocates who believe that we can benefit from both by creating a balance between the old and the future. The pressing question is how do we determine that balance?

Since it was made possible, I have been using tech platforms in tandem with traditional methods to promote activities of organizations and campaigns I led. Believe you me, I met so much resistance from a small segment of people who remain skeptical about the role of social networking and SMS in information dissemination. A woman even made a comment that I was moving way too fast that other people in the organization could not catch up. The point is I do not think I am moving fast; that is giving me too much credit than I deserve. If anything, I think some of us are stuck at the comfort of what is known and tested, so much so that we have forgotten that we wouldn’t have enjoyed modern day comforts if not for the blatant and courageous disregard of normal standards by visionary people and companies in the likes of the Wright Brothers, James Watt, Tim Berners Lee, Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

I like the tactile sensation of flipping pages of a book. There is a level of romanticism in being able to feel the skin of the paper and hear its resistance against my fingers as I turn the page as if it’s begging me to stay at it for a bit more. Meanwhile, I am also aware that there is an immense cost to be paid if I were to maintain this lifestyle, and some would argue, “What about the price we had to pay for progress?”

From the birth of humankind, we had been evolving and revolutionizing just so we can address our changing needs and at the same time preserve the only planet we live. For instance, in medieval times, books are made of parchment of animal skin, ink, gold, and silver leaves, and dyes. We have come a long way in terms of materials and process used. Now, paper copies are made from trees. Slowly, digital publishing will become the method of choice over sheet-fed offset presses. Schools are gradually implementing technology-based presentation in place of trifold posters. My two teens are required to bring their laptops everyday to school.

Darryl Vidal, an expert in educational technology, blogs that BYOD (bring your own device) is not a curriculum strategy anymore. It is a reality.

Even before our natural resources become thoroughly exhausted, we have to find ways to compensate for the losses and be ready to embrace the change. The concept of Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle is only effective, in my opinion, as an adjunct to alternative ways of addressing the depleting number of natural resources.

Technology plays a critical role, at not just advancing education, but also at protecting our planet. The old does not need to clash with the new and untested. With a rapidly changing world, best we could do to preserve traditions is by transcending these values onto the future. The future, unfortunately, came too soon and too fast for many of us.

We hear criticisms against the proliferation of texting and social media, and how it ruins the art of communication. I wonder if the people then said the same thing about Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone invention. Instead of demonizing texting and other forms of social networking, maybe we should look at how we could utilize these platforms for effective communication with our teens. Like it or not, the era of “quality” face to face conversation with our adolescents is rapidly and surely getting very limited, but that should not in any way equate to the death of relationships between parents and children.

Phone conversations are slowly becoming outdated. SMS or texting has become the communication of choice for teenagers. Even Facebook management recognizes that. Why do you think FB bought WhatsApp for $19 Billion?

The world is moving forward regardless of our readiness or lack of it.

Maybe the balance between the old and the future of technology lies within what we see should we start opening up to what is unknown and untested. Instead of leading a debate about which is better at raising happily effective learners, maybe it is best that we look at how technology protects and upholds traditions. Maybe, look into ways we could make use of advances in technology and integrate these into our daily living.

Maybe the balance between traditional ways of learning (a.k.a what has been comfortably used) and technology-based education lies on acknowledging not just what the current reality is, but also at recognizing that change is always inevitable.

TBH, learning to LOL can be an effective tool at bridging the great communication divide between the old and the future that is now.



Nancy Lublin considers texting as a lifeline. Here’s the TED talk she delivered on April 2012. 


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