I Have a Gripe

July 22, 2019

Analog Skills Still Matter

Filed under: Education,Music Education — alvb1227 @ 3:02 am
Tags: , , , , ,

In seventh grade, students were required to do a rotation that included wood shop, print shop, home economics, and general music. I already had a love of music, but it was print shop that would unknowingly at the time, put me on a path that included a love of print technology and a career that included prepress and print workflow development and troubleshooting.

My first assignment in print shop? Make a ruler. I had no idea how important that assignment would be in the grand scheme of my life. I also hand carved a printing block with my initials. I learned it had to be created backwards so it would print properly.

In college some of my favorite classes were print production and typography. We learned about the technology of print, but we also learned how to do things “old school,” as it was called. We were taught it was important to learn the foundation of how things were done in order to understand and appreciate how today’s latest technology worked. In college I was on the staff of The Setonian. I learned how to run type galleys and set 2pt rule by hand. More manual print production.

So why am I telling you all this?

The Girl Scouts recently announced a new badge program. I was a Girl Scout from Brownie to first year Cadette. When the troop I was in disbanded, I volunteered as an assistant leader for several years. I loved being involved in the Girl Scouts and have wonderful memories. I still have all my badges and sashes.

So I was incredibly disappointed when their new badge program focuses heavily on STEM.

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a fan of STEM education. While I am a huge fan of technology and have spent a good part of my career involved in Information Technology, SEO, and web analytics, it is because of my analog foundation that began at the Belleville School System I learned to appreciate today’s technology.

When I commented on their announcement their LinkedIn manager said they still offer programs in the outdoors and the arts. I looked up their new options, however, and they are incredibly limited.

Time and time again studies have shown the arts play a key role in a child’s development and teaches critical thinking, among other skills. I can’t imagine my life without music in throughout my public school career that began with choir and band in fifth grade.

It isn’t just about learning to sing or playing an instrument.

ThickThin7-sm

Me working on my spinning wheel.

Playing an instrument, singing, participating in fine arts, crocheting, weaving, yarn spinning – all things I do – are analog skills. They get kids away from technology, and provide a relaxing and creative outlets.

I will tell you these kids want access to these outlets. A few years ago I visited a Girl Scout meeting and gave a yarn spinning demonstration. They were fascinated. But nowadays everyone is focused on STEM.

Well, here are two examples of analog skills at NASA. Yes, NASA.

We’ve all been watching specials about the 50th anniversary of the Moon Shot. Many of those at the Space Center would double-check their math work using a slide ruler. How many kids today even know what a slide ruler is? Even the Apollo missions went into space with a centuries-old piece of equipment on board – a sextant.

Both area analog tools that play important roles in the most technology advanced department in the country.

So for those of you who have children and continue to push STEM education, think about the importance of analog skills, which includes the arts. You never know where it will lead. Hopefully it will teach an appreciation for more than all things digital.

 

 

July 8, 2011

The Space Shuttle…the End of an Era

Filed under: Education,United States government — alvb1227 @ 11:32 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Today marked the beginning of the end of an era. The final Space Shuttle launch took place today; 30 years after the first launch.

I was 10 the year of that first launch and I remember thinking how different it looked from what I had seen at school or in books. That it looked like a regular airplane to me. I remember not changing for gym the day the Challenger exploded on takeoff and we watched the television with the rabbit ears a teacher rolled in from another classroom. It was the first time I understood the sacrifice involved with being an astronaut.

For decades Americans were fascinated with the space race. It also sparked an increased an interest in math and science by students across the nation. Now that wasn’t anywhere close to my thing, but it inspired students to excel in math and science so they could be a part of “the space race;” something new, and a way to show your love of country.

Now? The Space Shuttle Atlantis embarked on its 12 day journey. The last after 30 years. Now, we will hitch a ride with the Russians. Yes, the Russians we raced against. The race where we lost the battle of the first person in space, but won the war of getting to the Moon first. The federal government wants our students to excel at math and science, but without a major program from NASA, like the Space Shuttle, what are we focusing on as our next great exploration? What great goal are we working towards as a nation? What brings us together as one? The space race was it. What’s next?

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: