Monday, September 8, 2014

Is it magic?

Absurdly, there are certain things I think are magic no matter how many times someone explains them to me. The stock market, (seriously- where does all that money go?), the inner working of the human body, (what do you mean the heart just beats on its own?), and technology. Yes, I understand that someone has written code and it causes things to happen but sometimes it really feels like magic. Somehow a touch screen responds to touch, the curser from my mouse can travel across multiple monitors and clicking icons on a website takes you to places you might never dream of on your own. I know that if I really researched these and a million other technological feats I would find answers but something fundamentally, way down to the basics feels like magic. I wonder if my elementary school students feel this way or just take it for granted about the way things work.
My son could figure out how to use a touch screen when he was 2 years old. Don’t ask me why I gave my son a touch screen at 2 years old unless you have taken a toddler out to eat at a restaurant recently. He could recognize the cause and effect of the interface of my iPhone without stopping to consider the why or how. Is it important that children, somewhere along the line, understand why things work the way they do in technology? And I don’t necessarily mean coding, though there would be value in that knowledge, but the why and how of the internet and the gadgets they use? Likewise should children know the history of technology, what computers used to look like, how far we have come in the digital age? Is this important now that technology has been so immersed in our everyday lives or just par for the course?

I own a Kindle, and the Kindle App on my iPad, iPhone and laptop. With the Whispersync feature from Amazon I can pick up any device and start reading from the exact place I left off of on another device. Now that has to be some kind of magic!


  1. Making learning magical is beneficial for everyone especially if you are sparking that magic at an early age, as you are in your role of elementary teacher. Technology like touchscreens is a great advance in connecting people to learning. Ideally, technology will become invisible in the sense that you won’t know you’re working a device but just engaged in the learning experience. That would be magic!

  2. I love your questioning in this post. I also taught elementary school and I often times found myself taking for granted things like the alphabet has an order and numbers follow a pattern. For some of my students, they had never thought of the world like that. I think there is an opportunity with some of our youngest students, to allow them to innovate solutions that adults might never consider. They may not be able to code but I bet they could think up a technology or a service that we don't currently have and might never think of ourselves because we have become constrained by what we know.

  3. I liked your first post about things in our complex muddled up world being magic. I find myself thinking that sometimes too, then I'm reminded of all the billions of people in the world. To me, the magic is how we all contribute our little bits of wonder and creativity to these systems (the internet, government, stock market, human bio).