This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Can your iPad save your life?

Recently my husband brought home his new favorite toy: an iPad.  It is his job to be on the cutting edge of all things new and interesting in the technology world and of course the iPad was no exception.  He handed it to me with the instructions "play with it, see how you like it."  I ignored it long enough that our 11 year old picked it up and immediately began using it to maximum functionality and capacity.  I love how each generation becomes increasingly tech savvy.  My grandchildren will be able to program their TiVos before they can walk.

Finally after using the iPad as a coaster for a few days I decided to try and do one of the simplest daily tasks I perform on my PC: blog.  No go on an iPad.  It's keyboard is too similar to that of my iPhone (which I adore) and without the sensation of striking a key I tend to have a lot of typos.  So I wondered...what is this oversized, overpriced piece of equipment good for?  Could it save my life?

It can't make a phone call, so I can't use it to dial 911.
It's too small to be effectively slammed into my solar plexus if I'm alone and choking.
It's too big to put in my mouth to bite down on to keep me from biting my tongue if I'm having a seizure.
It's too light to use for chest compressions, should my heart stop beating.
It's too heavy to use to bang myself in the head to keep me awake should I already be concussed.
I could use it to search the web to diagnose and hopefully get treatment for whatever ails me, but with the oversized-yet-still-too-small-keyboard I might end up getting a misdiagnosis.
I could also use it to watch life-saving-technique movies.
Or youtube videos.
Or read life-saving-how-to books online.

Verdict: I don't think the iPad is going to save my life, but I think it may change it.  As I watched my daughter instantly take to the latest technology gadget I realized that for her, as for many in her generation, it's not about what the latest gadget can do, it's about the constant quest to make things bigger, better, smaller, more advanced, less costly, and have more functionality. 

I don't think the iPad represents all that big of an advantage over the iPhone, but I do think it represents what is best about our society's consumerism: the push to invent, create, push the boundaries, think outside the box, and create an instant "need" for something that was unknown just a few months earlier.  Statisticians constantly warn that our students aren't ranking high enough in math and science.  Critics predict dire consequences for the problem-solving abilities of our youth.  Politicians get elected on platforms that promise more focus on education.  I'm not saying they are all wrong, I'm just saying that in order to sell over 2 million expensive oversized iPhones that can't make a call you have to have a population of people who are curious and in the famous words of Albert Einstein:

"It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty."

And that, my friends, is what every single one of those 2 million iPads is doing for our country.  Inspiring curiosity.  Inspiring new ideas.  New apps.  New ways to use this piece of equipment about which so much is heralded yet not a lot is yet discovered.  If you are worried that your kids can't think.  Can't dream.  Can't imagine, create, or learn, buy them an iPad.  Leave them alone.  Let them explore.

Let them be curious.

1 comment:

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Most people can't afford an iPad for their kids.