Old, New and the Middle Man

To @Helacious, an inspiring twitterateur.

Beset on both sides.

I am reading streams of tweets and many blogs on Education. “Do it all on line. Get rid of the stage, the podium, the rostrum! Move with the times! The days of the lecture or classroom are gone. The young are techno literate, they will accept no less. It is the way to grab their attention.” I have not yet heard a call to ban the biro, but I am sure this is round the corner (or behind the next portal – which by the way is a very old concept).

At the same time I am inundated by old friends and acquaintances emailing me to tell me the sky is falling in. Texting and social media are stopping people having friends, causing riots and worst of all limiting vocabulary. Did you know the average texter has a vocabulary of only 800 words? I say, if that is true, put them all back in their cots! (I even have friends who won’t own a computer but most of them are just mad as they won’t have a dishwasher either.)

In the midst of this maelstrom came a thoughtful but plaintiff tweet from one of the twitterrarti, or is it a tweeterateur? Come on you techno-savvy illiterates, give us a new word quickly!

 “50 is an awkward age. The young hallucinate a blanket on my knees while I hallucinate a blanket to receive the youthful.”  (20/8/2011)

 This sums it all up. But it does not have to be like this.

Let’s all be tolerant and accepting. I think we all can agree that the invention of the electric light was great. So sometimes, for special occasions, is the ambience of the candle.

The old have got to stop being scared and, if they can’t bring themselves to try, just admire!  The world does not stop when we do. Denial is not an effective defence against anything.

The middle aged (and in this context I mean from about 15 to about 60) have got to learn, as we all did, that they have not got “it” solved and, as they enthusiastically welcome the new, try hard not to throw out any babies.

For we must all remember the very young are not, and will not be, excited by this “new” technology. It is par for their course. It is going to be something new in their adult lifetimes that excites them more than the social media and its equipment. Currently the three year old will put his ipad nonchalantly with his craft box and use them as he feels the urge. Perhaps the adult scissors or the Stanley Knife will continue to keep some mystique for a little longer.

As we all think about where our comfort “blanky” is, on our lap or waiting to receive others, could we perhaps conceive of a blanket that is big enough, warm enough and strong enough to encompass us all as we recognise the strengths of others, admire developments and learn from the past.


About Anne Powles

I am retired from paid employment. During my working life I have been variously and sometimes contemporaneously, wife, mother of four, lawyer, teacher and psychologist. I have also been a serial education junkie. As are we all, I have been an observer of the world around me. Here I have recorded some of my memories, observations and theorisings.
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