Technology much like paper towels

I have an analogy for you: Technology is like a paper towel – it does its job very well but is only useful for a short amount of time. It serves its purpose almost too quickly, making the only next logical step being to grab a new one; that cycle is never-ending.

The only difference is you can get a whole lot more paper towel for $400.

I was fortunate enough to be raised in a prosperous community. With that came advantages available to the children within the district for my entire primary and secondary education. In junior high, seventh and eighth grade, many “specials,” as I have seen titled, were offered: music, art, physical education, health, home economics, woodworking and technology, to name a few.

One year, one entire semester of technology class was dedicated to learning how to understand and use Hypercard on Apple computers. At the time, this was cutting-edge technology, the way of the future.  Surely, this education was invaluable to a subset of individuals – college students, maybe even high school seniors – who would soon be entering the work force and possibly working with this technology while developing new technology in the near future.

However, to a bunch of junior high students, Hypercard was obsolete by the time we graduated high school. An entire semester was wasted, learning technology that was not applicable in our daily lives from the moment we learned it and became even less valuable as the years progressed.

Looking at the other “specials” I took in junior high, I can recall several other things I learned in those two years that are still relevant in my life. I know how to cook. I know how to use a sewing machine. I know that I am an alto. I know how to cross-country ski, downhill ski, run long distances aerobically and swim a strong backstroke. I know how to use a band saw and drill press. I know how to work clay on a potter’s wheel. I know how to do a breast self-exam. These are all off the top of my head; undoubtedly, there are even more.

I have tapped into all this knowledge again and again over the last 20-plus years, but I have never once used Hypercard.

I ask you, please reconsider how much emphasis you are wanting to put on technology within our district’s curriculum. I can assure you that limiting physical education, or other “specials,” isn’t going to win over the hearts of parents. Parents are not enrolling their child in another district solely because it has better technology; they are enrolling them somewhere else because they don’t want 35 kids in their child’s classroom next year.

Let’s not focus on making our district look better; let’s make our district better. — Crystal Johnson, Elk River

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