Tag Archives: Apple
In today’s Web 2.0, always-connected, smartphone-toting era, it is increasingly uncommon to do anything as remotely pre-June 2007 (or, for our more traditional readers, before the iPhone) as use a pen and paper for high-level executive planning.
Yet this is precisely what the CSO of Mediolana has chosen to do. Tired of forever staring at his MacBook Pro and looking for an entrepreneurial experience even more tactile than an Apple Inc. keyboard, these photographs clearly depict someone utilising a Paper Mate pen together with a pre-Fukushima Made in Japan pink Muji highlighter for those all-important strategic outlining moments.
In this epoch of electronic everything, it is all too easy to forget how constricting and limiting devices of supposedly limitless productivity can be; the simple clarity afforded by a piece of paper and a quality writing implement is in many senses far superior – not to mention cheaper – than anything the realm of electronica has – at least to date – generated. The fact that this photographic record was made possible by the CSO’s iPhone only serves to reinforce this point.
With the imminent iPad3isation of the known universe, we at Mediolana thought that now is an apposite a time as any to evaluate one of the hottest trends in global education today: the mass penetration of tablet computers into the classroom. From cash-strapped California to ambitious Turkey, governments worldwide are availing themselves of tablet devices and purchasing them in vast volumes in an effort to upgrade the human capital of their economies.
And as this video from none other than Apple illustrates, there are certainly some sound reasons behind the adoption of this technology. New textbooks can be published and accessed with incredible ease, making one of the banes of teaching everywhere – outdated materials – a thing of the past; previously dry academic tomes can be made more engaging via liberal usage of multimedia; and a new generation can be spoken to via a medium that is second nature to it.
Row after row of technologically-savvy students marching towards the singularity; as wonderful as it sounds, we are not entirely convinced by this seductive vision of a tablet-defined future. In fact, as much as we would love to believe in a brighter and better tomorrow constructed by polymaths with touchscreens, the following issues are jarring with us:
1. Technology Might Be Making Us Dumb. The generations which have come to maturity in recent years are arguably the most media-savvy in recorded history, with more hours racked up in front of screens of one description or other than any before them. Yet their facility with language – one of the most essential building blocks of academic attainment – is generally abysmal compared to previous generations: as employers the length and breadth of much of the developed world know, asking most contemporary graduates to write a piece of 500 words on a subject of their choosing is like asking to be punched in the stomach. Repeatedly.
2. Text? What Text? With tablets encouraging an emphasis on all-singing, all-dancing histograms and the trend for more and more white space on the Web, the amount of text discernible in many tablet ‘textbooks’ looks paltry compared to their paper equivalents. Ultimately, this almost certainly means that students will be learning less and at lower levels of complexity than via ‘outdated’ paper: this translates into a decrease in human capital rather than an augmentation.
3. Driven to Distraction. With rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (‘ADHD’) already rocketing and adults (let alone children) having enough trouble focusing on anything that requires more than six seconds of attention, is an entirely electronic education really what global civilisation is crying out for right now? Or would it be better for us to log off and allocate one hour per day of school curricula to meditation?