Marion Pellicano Ambrose
Social Networking. When I was a kid no one ever used the term. Sure we had friends, and we kept in touch. We wrote letters (with actual pens and paper) and we talked on the phone until our parents yelled about us running up the bill. I grew up in an attached bungalow and we even communicated with our friends next door by banging on the wall! But computers? They were the big room-filling monster machines we saw on “I Dream of Jeanne” when Major Nelson went to NASA. No one dreamed they would become the indispensable communication and information devices that they are today.
And what about iphones? That was the stuff of “Star Trek” science fiction! (Hey, I’m still impressed with automatic opening doors!) I didn’t have to worry about the phone bill with my daughter as long as I had unlimited texting on our plan! While I spent hours on the phone with my friends at her age, she never gets a call! She’s too busy texting! Talk about multi tasking, she can text with several of her friends on the phone while chatting on face book with several others and still be doing homework! I can’t walk and chew gum!
So where did this techno intelligence come from? It certainly isn’t genetic. Kids just seem to be “wired in” to technology (pardon the pun). If I can’t figure out what to do to get something to work on my laptop, my daughter comes over, looks at me with pity, presses a key or two and “POOF” it’s done. Then she smiles in that patronizing way that says “Poor dumb mom!” How does she do that?
I remember when computers first started being used in schools, many teachers were panic stricken. It wasn’t so much that we feared learning a new thing, it was that the kids already seemed to know SO much more! I can admit it: I asked my third graders for help! I had one amazing student who made a program so my kids could check out books from my classroom library and I could keep track. HE WAS 8 YEARS OLD! This same boy later helped run our school’s TV studio and now that he’s an adult, comes back to volunteer and help out our tech specialist.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am computer literate now. I can do all the usual things: PowerPoint, Excel, Word, graphing, and so on. I’ve come to rely on my computer for research, shopping, blogging (of course) and communicating. I did my grades, lesson plans and lunch counts on computer. I learned to do things I never dreamed I could do. I went through hours and hours of training, graduate level technology classes and workshops to get here. So how is it my daughter just sits down and “knows”?
I guess that’s a sure sign I’m getting old! I can remember giving my mom the same patronizing look when she tried to figure out the remote for the TV! I can’t wait to see what it will be that my future grandchildren will be “wired in” to be able to do, and I especially can’t wait for them to look at my daughter, smile and think “Poor dumb mom!”