I have said it before that technology has infiltrated all levels of our society. I have also mentioned “lifelong learning” on Twitter and previous blog entries too. Well, I just bought my parents an iPad and these two statements cannot be more true.
A little about my parents. They are the nicest, most modest and simple people. They have never had a lot but are comfortable. Dad is 86 and hard of hearing, Mom is 83, a cancer survivor so far. The highlights of their week is going for a few walks at the local track and a little food shopping. The average day has my dad reading the newspaper on his own from front to back, and mom watching tv.
As for technology, I gave them an old tower computer a few years back so my dad could check his email. It was all set up to open automatically and he was still very apprehensive, but he got the gist of it. Then the other day, he asked me to show him how to get on to YouTube. His piano teacher had asked him to watch a video to help him with his practice. I showed him how to type in YouTube’s site and then how to type in the search bar. I couldn’t help but to notice how difficult it was for him to move the mouse and place it on the bars to scroll pages. I had mentioned the iPad before and the apprehension came back. “No! No! No! What for? The buttons are too small. It is too much.” (It just so happens that a few days earlier I took my mom for a walk at the mall and had her try the iPad so I knew she was able to use it.) Being a poor listener, I went straight to the Apple Store and got them an iPad…I don’t even have one.
Just today, the second day they have had the iPad, they are already able to not only check their email but to compose as well. Email for them was only checking what their distant friends and relatives sent. In addition, they were able to open, close, and play with the apps that I loaded on for them. Then, the unthinkable happened. My mom was using an app to draw Chinese characters and then my dad pulled up beside her to interact and share in the experience. They together were going through the words, talking about whether they were simplified or traditional Chinese characters. What a sight. Then they closed that app and started in to the memory game and word search I also loaded on. It has also opened up a whole new world for them to learn about and be interested in…. the online world provided by one touch of the Google Bar. Being tennis fans, I had my mom open up YouTube to search videos on Roger Federer. She quickly said “No. I want to see Rafa Nadal!” This piece of tech has been worth every penny!
This experience has been an inspiration. It showed me that learning is indeed lifelong and that technology has infiltrated all levels of our society. I have watched my 3 and 5 year old nephews, and my elderly parents, use this piece of technology. As a teacher, it also shows me that it is human to want to learn, no matter the age of the student, despite the apprehension. As an educator, I intend to continue my mission to help anyone who wants to learn to find something to be interested in, or try my hardest to make whatever has to be learned interesting. Also, it is clear that technology can help me do that, so I will continue to use it in conjunction with what I also believe to be human: interaction.
And one more thing, before I left my parent’s house, my mom was hogging the iPad so I had to ask them: Do I need to get you BOTH one?
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.