Last week, I rode along with my husband on one of his business trips. Technology made this possible. With my laptop and a wireless USB stick I was connected to my work for all but a few miles. Additionally, I was available via cell phone and the home office was able to transfer calls seamlessly, meaning the customer had no idea they had just been transferred to the panhandle of Oklahoma or Texas.
Honestly, at first, I didn’t give this a second thought. However, as we were cruising down the highway, we noticed a sign that was directing all HC traffic to an alternate route. Neither of us knew what this meant so I ‘googled’ it. (For those of you who also don’t recognize the meaning of these letters in the context of traffic signs, it stand for Hazardous Cargo.) As we drove by the historical site where the 1st and 2nd Battle of Adobe Walls took place, again I turned to my trusty laptop and shared various versions of what is believed to have transpired. When wondering about eating options or wanting to confirm the planned route, we consulted our GPS (Global Positioning System).
It was at this point, that I marveled how much the world and my life has changed with the prevalence of technology. I am just old enough that I can remember life before cell phones. In fact, there was a point in my life, where the idea of a phone you could use in moving car seemed like an impossibility as it conjured up pictures of cords trailing behind a moving vehicle. After all, my schema for a phone was a box attached to a wall with a receiver attached by a cord. Indoor wireless phones did not even exist.
However, today not only cell phones, but smart phones with internet connectivity are the norm rather than the exception. What I began to appreciate was how much knowledge now lives at my fingertips, and it caused me to ask the question–In this day and age, what should all kids ‘know and be able to do’ by the time they graduate from high school? Furthermore, why should they memorize things that are just a fingertip away?
I still remember the big debate over using calculators in the classroom (and suspect this debate continues in some places). A prime argument at the time, centered around the idea that a calculator may not always be available so it is imperative to learn how to do long division etc.. It is laughable today, to think about being anywhere without access to a calculator. After all, from watches to cell phones to computers, calculators live in nearly every piece of technology we own and I RARELY see people without access to one or more pieces of technology.
With internet accessibility becoming so pervasive, hence information at our fingertips, is there any knowledge that kids should be required to memorize?