What is with all of the panic about e-books and iPads and Kindles and the pleasure of reading? Everywhere I turn I hear or read about people’s opinion about the pleasure of reading involving the tactile experience of touching a books pages, of turning them one by one, of the smells and their associations with print based books, of the need for annotations and scribbles, and how those scribbles hold histories and meanings that will never be captured by some cold, clinical, technological equipment used to mediate and reduce reading to something that is lesser – less pleasurable, less immersive, less tactile, and less sensory. Why is there some sense of either/or… and such strong emotion and argument about “it will never replace the real thing”.
I am a little tired of hearing about the generation x, y and z stereotypes, just as I am exhausted from hearing about the baby boomer stereotype. Digital natives versus digital immigrants. I don’t believe that one stereotype fits all. What’s the old adage… assume makes an ass out of you (u) and me? Assumptions are in the same stable as far as I am concerned.
I am also tired of the way baby boomers (and I am a tail ender baby boomer) are working so hard to button hole younger generations. Are we going to be just like every other cranky older generation and carry on about “the kids today”? Surely we can do better than that. We are better than that.
Sitting at the English teachers’ conference today, I also grew tired of the older generation, and particularly the elder of the older generation, bemoaning the death of the book. I swear if I hear another teacher proudly boast that they refuse to use email, I may just push a chalk board duster down their throat. Failure to adapt is not a trait our students require in a teacher, especially as we try to instil a passion for life long learning into those students.
Get a grip, people, there is room in the world for both traditional books and new text forms. Don’t decry technology just because it frightens you, or you are too lazy to update skills. If you choose not to use it in your private life, that is your choice, but as an educator, you have no choice, but to evolve along with your students. Otherwise, exit stage left, I think.
Surely if nothing else, history has shown us that if something is valued it continues to hold importance. If we continue to find value in the written hard copy book then it will continue in its traditional form, if not, then it means we found something better. The horse and carriage preceded the motor car, remember? Somehow society continued to survive, as did the human race.
Just try raising the bar…