PLEASE VISIT OUR SPONSORS
earning your business everyday
New & used vehicles with a full line service & parts dept. Call 765-932-2447 or 866-576-7874 or visit us on the web for more info.
open 7 days! dine-in or carry-out
PIT STOP PIZZA & PUB
Open for breakfast at 6 a.m., Mon-Sat. Steak special Fri-Sat. Daily homemade meal specials. 711 N. Main Street in Carthage. 765-565-6078
body repair experts
KNIGHTSTOWN COLLISION CENTER
Call 765-345-5380 for info/quote or visit us at 221 W. Main Street
Technology Changes Just About Everything
I’m going to share a droll story that I heard at a party at Vicki’s home. It doesn’t fit in with a series of columns that I have in mind, but that can wait!
One of the pleasures of writing for Eric and Jeff is that I can write what I choose so long as I remain within the parameters of the community standards that the Editors of The Banner follow. The structure of one of my essays is similar to one of my days. Every morning I start out with a to-do list and a plan. However, by day’s end, random events sometimes sent me off in unforeseen directions.
The little story makes me think about how much computers are changing our daily lives. Take writing, for example. Unlike Hemingway who wrote by hand, I use a powerful laptop that performs all sorts of editing chores, counts my words and even provides a thesaurus.
The spellchecker is a double-sided blessing: On the one hand, it catches all of your typographical errors. You can even tell it to insert the correct form of a word that you choose from of a list of words that are spelled similarly to the word that you have misspelled.
Once I’ve finished an essay, I spell check it and paste it into my e-mail. A touch of a key fires it off to The Banner. Once that electronic wizardry has happened, there’s no calling the message back. Therein lies a danger! If you accept the first choice in the list without looking, you can end up with some bizarre results.
Vicki’s friend who works in a bank’s computer division told the following story. They had had computer problems, and he sent an e-mail to the bank’s executives and employees: The spellchecker corrected a typographical error in the word “inconvenience.” He didn’t pay attention to the replacement word that was inserted and sent the note onward. His letter of apology concluded, “I do hope that this problem has not caused you too much incontinence.” An executive replied, “So far, I have noticed no change in my bathroom habits!”
Newspaper publishing has also changed from the days when Tom Mayhill clacked away on the noisy linotype machine. Now powerful computers run quietly and smoothly. Out-of-towners who read my columns and wonder what the paper is like can find The Banner on the Internet.
The Internet is having an impact on education. You can even take classes “on line.” Vicki just finished an associate degree that involved several on-line classes. I read with great interest the thoughtful and thought-provoking letter by student Sarah Tabb about conditions at the Knightstown High School.
The physical plant of the old buildings where I went to school would be rated substandard in contrast with the modern building out on Road 40, but I look back with admiration on the education that we received back in the 1950’s. It was a small school with only thirty-three in my graduating class. The curriculum was modest compared with that of many modern schools such as the one attended by my grandsons who took college classes in calculus and something called discrete math at Tri State.
The Internet is probably perfectly adequate for some classes, but I can’t imagine learning an experimental science that way. Our science and math classes were taught face-to-face by Earl Blemker, Claude Sipes and Mabel Trotter, all of whom were intelligent, no-nonsense teachers. I remember that if we got stuck on an algebra problem we could call Mr. Sipes who’d talk us through it. There were English, social studies, Latin, Spanish, speech, chorus, band, bookkeeping, typing, shorthand, shop, agriculture, home ec and art classes.
Ms Tabb says that she doesn’t feel safe at school because of the behavioral problems that have become endemic in American schools. How sad. I talk with enough teachers that I know what one cause is. Our society teaches children everything about rights and nothing about responsibility and morality. Too often a blind eye is turned to the conditions in our schools. Few administrators and school boards are brave enough buck society, establish firm disciplinary policies for their schools and back up their teachers.
We had little personal freedom in the old school. Our teachers and we knew that teachers had the backing of the school officials and the entire town. A teacher who is not backed up and supported soon becomes jaded and fatigued.
Perhaps it's time to re-evaluate what’s happening in America and turn back the clock. Fancy buildings and electronic gadgetry cannot replace talented teachers, and teachers cannot teach in disorderly classrooms. If you read this column, ask yourself who taught you to do so.
Next week we see exotic places through the eyes of young people.
Copyright © 2007 - Knightstown Banner, LLC
The Banner, PO Box 116, Knightstown, IN 46148 (765) 345-2292