Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tug of War

I have had a tug of war of sorts between journaling and doing other things that I usually do on paper and doing them via the computer instead. It has been amusing as I have even in the course of a day gone back and forth between the two modes of recording my thoughts and other writings.

On the one hand is pen and paper…granted a slower form of getting my thoughts down but one of comfort that I have turned to many many times in the past because…well for many years that was the only option for recording my thoughts. I was in high school when home computers started showing up but they were very limited and expensive. So for many years my mode of writing was pen and paper.

Then the computer age engulfed and more things were possible on a computer. And while I have adapted to some things giving up the pen and paper has proved a challenge for me at times. This year it has reached new heights because also I have been focusing on simplifying and minimalizing my life. That makes this mode of writing and record keeping, make much more sense than a pen and paper. Even knowing that fact I have had a time convincing myself to get with technology.

I can see the benefits. 1. I can record things much faster typing. 2. It is neater and I can actually read it. 3. It is easier to store and doesn’t end up filling up a landfill. 4. It is easier to keep organized so it makes it easier for me to find things when I need them later.

And as far as cons there truly aren’t any that I can think of except that for some strange reason there are times I want to write with a pen on paper. Perhaps it is just waves of nostalgia that will pass the more I resist?

I read recently that a school district is currently trying to find out what they need to do to make their internet ready for the students to be doing things online. They are letting the kids bring their i-phones and i-pads and the like with them so they could see if their internet connection needed upgrading because they are preparing for the future when all homework will be done via computer or i-pads.

The publishers of school books have said they will no longer be making printed books in several years or so. That means that schools are going to have to get with the technology that is out there. I can see the advantages of going to e-books. The kids won’t be carrying around heavy textbooks. Hopefully this will also mean the cost for textbooks will be decreased although I am sure the publishers will try fighting this if at all possible. They will be able to be quickly updated so that the things the kids are learning are up to date. They will be doing their homework on there as well so that cuts out the need for a mountain of paper and pencils and pens and the like.

There are many school districts that no longer teach cursive writing, choosing instead to focus on teaching the kids keyboard skills. I am torn how I feel about this. I see the reasoning behind it as cursive writing really isn’t a reality that kids are going to need. However, how will they sign a legal signature? And the basic form of communication for many years will be dead to them and thus dead to future generations.

It sort of saddens me that my grandkids will never know the excitement of opening a new package of unsharpened pencils and smelling the wood. They won’t go shopping for notebooks and folders and the like. Their shopping will be only for an computer device that will allow them to store the data they need stored.

What’s next on the chopping block? Crayons? I mean there are already programs that allow for making pictures on the computer. What will we lose as we march toward the new technology? Will we lose some creativity? Likely it will just be funneled into the new technological ways. That may bring more creative thoughts and processes than we now currently have so it may not be a bad thing.

Book readers and the i-pads have started pulling many away from buying physical books. There is nothing like holding a new book in your hands and reading the contents. It can only be beat by opening a well-worn book and reading it over and over again. My grandchildren will likely do all of their reading on a screen of some sort. I guess as long as they are reading the stories will be the same as print.

Perhaps I am just trying too hard to hold on to things when change is inevitable. I am learning to embrace some of the technology. I do enjoy the computer and am beginning to do more and more on here all the time. I pay most of my bills online. I do online banking. I rarely write a snail mail letter or send a card. And hush, don’t tell the kids, but I think an I-pad would be fun to have.

But still I can’t quiet that nagging feeling that in our changes we are going to lose something. I am sure every generation has felt that way as they see the things they are familiar with being replaced. Perhaps there is a bigger fear there that the things we know will be replaced and we will not be needed anymore. Whatever the case I fully admit that the tug-o-war between pen and paper and my computer isn’t likely to be one that has a clean date when it is over but that slowly and quietly my pen and paper will be placed aside in order for technology to move forward.