Sometimes I feel like I have been thrust, kicking and screaming, into the fast-moving world of electronic communications. Everything seems to be more than enough, more than I want or need.
Take the telephone industry, for example. I am technologically a landline person. Plug the phone in, answer it when it rings, dial a number to talk to someone.
About a year ago, I bought a three-piece set of AT&T phones. I wanted an instrument in my office, my bedroom and the kitchen/dining room. I don’t want to have to run to the phone before someone hangs up. The new landline phone had so many features, I could never get them installed. I am still running to answer phones before someone hangs up.
I recently bought a new telephone to replace my medical alert system to provide protection no matter where I happen to be. Theoretically, it may do that. But when the new phone arrived, it had a defective SIM card and didn’t work. A SIM card is a tiny bit of material that contains the operating program for the phone (so I’m told).
The phone has features I don’t need and will never use. It seems like the communications industry assumes everyone wants to do all the wonderful things that are possible today. Not me! All I want to do is plug it in and talk. In the process of switching over from my old cellphone to the new one, my old one was deactivated. So I am without a cellphone and the protection I was looking for.
Probably the most complex item I have is the new laptop computer I bought for my recent trip to Hawaii. It came equipped with the Windows 8.1 operating system. I had a computer expert tell me that the system was designed for the use of computer experts. Where does that leave me?
If I am giving the impression I am against modern technology, I’m not. But there is an assumption that technology will replace basic functions in life. That just isn’t true. Technology should extend and enhance rather than replace.
The latest concepts in public education have disposed of things that have been and are basic building blocks to competence. The two things that come to mind immediately are the rejection of cursive handwriting and multiplication tables. Whoever made those decisions simply doesn’t understand how humans develop; and how much of our history is stored in cursive documents. It’s arrogant ignorance.
Learning to write (cursive) develops many skills: fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination and many more, not to speak of the ability to read the handwritten notes of others. The multiplication tables have been abandoned for a system that finds different ways to arrive at an answer. One that is not necessarily correct. There tends to be an emphasis on letting equipment do the work for you. Without equipment, you are helpless. Foundations for effective numbers processing are absent.
Technology is wonderful when used appropriately. When I receive my new SIM card, I’m sure I will have the protection I am looking for. And good friend Bob Jarvis has offered to help me install my AT&T phones.
All is not lost. It just feels that way at times. Do you ever feel that way?
Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.