Saturday, December 8, 2007
I built a computer for Peigi for her first birthday. She, of course, couldn't type but could use a mouse to click on things and get a reaction. She already had a plus 50 word vocabulary by then and I had a sense she was gifted with language skills. She loved this action-reaction stuff and I will never forget her first mouse click at age 1. I think Explorapedia was one of the first interactive educational programs she used on the computer and her first click moved a frog from one location to another and it was wonderful to watch her truly explore this new world of computers. I did the same for Delia on her first birthday. They both have literally grown up with computers as tools. Why did I do this and not have them share one machine. It was because the "personal" computer (PC) for me changed the way I worked and learned fundamentally. It was "mine" and not controlled by a central IT department who dictated what I could and could not load on it and use. It changed my life for the better. I built my first Sinclair ZX machine from a kit in the late 70's or early 80's. It wouldn't be until a short time later that the Apple and IBM PC would catch on as mass market devices and change computing forever. Did you know that a 10 MB winchester hard drive in 1983 cost at least $1,000.00? Now you can get a half terrabyte (500GB) for $110.00 CDN. The first Apple 1 came out in 1976 for nearly $700.00 US but was only for the hard core geek community and its ease of use was clearly not a selling point then. That was similar to the Altair which used one of the very first Intel 8080 micro-processors which kick started the whole PC industry. I also had the technical know-how to build them and for the girls I could use old parts considered obsolete for everyday business use or high intensity graphics and cobble them together so they could use the many children's learning programs available. This has clearly given them a "head start" with the technology. I ran across the video below today through my subscription to the "This is True" newsletter by Randy Cassingham and what it indicates is quite startling in terms of the education of our children and the rapid advance of new knowledge, new careers, and the number of job changes our children will need to go through in their lives. Are we preparing our children well for the future. Have a look. It is just over 8 minutes but is an eye opener and information worthwhile to know. Given my children are going through incredible emotional stress on top of everything else it is concerning. But armed with the knowledge we can play a direct role in their preparation for a future far different than the one we experienced at the same age. For the printed version of this blog, when re-written as a book, this is the Link to the video on You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U To watch it without leaving this blog, click on the play button below.