Thursday, June 26, 2014

Our Library of Alexandria

When watching Cosmos, Neil DeGrasse Tyson compares our access to information to the grand library that once existed in Alexandria.  I find this a very elegant comparison and could not agree more.  The access we have to information is incredible, and we can do it within the comfort of own our homes.  Any question can be answered, as long as you know where to find it.  With all this information, it becomes increasingly important to check that sources and context are taken into account, but once that is taught, the possibilities are unlimited.

With the increasingly growing database that is the internet, children are able to gain a vast amount of knowledge in specialized interests.  For example, children are able to look up information on things they are interested in and tend to become devoted to whatever their interest is, learning as much as they can about a specific subject.  When watching the recent season of Masterchef Junior, the younger contestants were better equipped to deal with the wide variety of cooking challenges that the show presented than the adult contestants on the normal show.  People are able to pursue and discover their passions much earlier in life.

This can have some advantages, but I can't help but wonder what the repercussions will be. With children able to learn many more things at much younger ages, its possible that job fields may begin looking at experience and knowledge at a younger age and targeting individuals for employment even earlier than they do now.  The pressures to excel at increasingly younger ages is accelerating, and peoples futures are being determined before they are old enough to know what they truly want in life.  Though this access to information is a huge asset, it becomes apparent that our society still needs to give time for children to mature and have a childhood.

Humans live much longer lives than they used to, so there is plenty of time to be an adult, but less and less time to have a childhood.  Being young is a time to spend learning as much as you can about as many things as you can.  It's about learning the patterns and ways of the world.  This time is essential in developing a love of learning.  With this, learning becomes a natural and enjoyable part of a person entire life, making them able to continue growing throughout life.  The most important thing to learn is how to learn and enjoy it, and with the ability to to ask any question and find information about your questions, the learning opportunities are endless, as long as we, as a society, remember to allow children to have a truly enjoyable experience with all of their learning opportunities.

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