Friday, September 28, 2012

World is changing

The older of my great-granddaughters is four.  She recently began a kindergarten for 4 year olds..  It is held in the same room where our older greatgrandson attended kindergarten 8 years ago.  

A generous soul gave funds for the remodeling of the rooms the children use.  We stopped and peeked at the adorables as they trooped in this morning.  Our star saw us, took a few seconds to reorient her thinking to very old, old people that she actually knew staring in at her and smiling and waving. The teacher remembers us and came to the door to greet us.  

We complimented her on the remodeling and she said it was indeed very nice but still not complete.  One of the remaining tasks is the iPads.  They do have them but the apps haven't been downloaded yet.  

I hope you got that: the FOUR YEAR OLDS are waiting for their apps.  What apps do YOU have?  What is an app, anyhow?  You may know that "app" is a shortening of "application", another word for what some of us call a "program", more or less self-contained code that makes a computer or smartphone or other device such as a tablet like an iPad, do something.  There are over 300,000 apps for the iPhone and more than 60,000 for the iPad tablet, not even including those inside a college, university, company or other specific organization.  

I guess by some measures the iPhone and the iPad are the most successful commercial ventures in history.  Lynn just told me about hearing of "text neck", a skeletal condition that teens and others can develop from steadily keeping the head down and the eye on a small screen held in one hand down in front of the body.  That older grandchild is still in elementary school but he attended the kindergarten back in those primitive ages of few smartphones and no iPad/tablets.

Apps are not confined to Apple products, of course.  The competition is not asleep nor stupid and the biggest competitor is the Android line from Google and companies dealing with Google. I asked my 30-something granddaughter why she wanted a Kindle Fire and she immediately said,"I want to play Angry Birds!".  That is a runaway best seller video game that now comes in several forms.  According to the Finnish company that designs and sells the game, "players log more than 5 million hours of game time each day"!!  How is our world going to prosper with that going on?  Just answer me that!

Ok, here's a clue: the Khan Academy.  Individual adults and curious children, motivated students, home-bound people, immigrants, those who were deprived of an education by war or upheaval or poverty are trooping to the free Khan website, to learn and learn and learn.  So, after defeating the nasty pigs and helping the angry birds survive, an enterprising 4 or 6 or 10 or 70 year old, can slip over to Khan and learn finance or calculus or some other valuable subject in less time and with more pleasure than you or I ever had.
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