The Progression of Summer 2008

June 28, 2008

This is one of my favorite summer’s so far. Even though we are working hard everyday, we are having so much fun, especially with the grandchildren. The fun began for this summer when I decided—with Craig’s encouragement—to dive deeper, into some software programs; Photoshop Elements, Premiere, WordPress, LiveWriter, LightRoom, and others. We have about eight on the list to learn. It has been tutorial central in our neck of the woods. I especially like experimenting with Essentials 2 for Photoshop Elements.

I’m getting through the tutorials at what I think is a pretty good pace. My grand daughter then gets into it and starts the tutorials. I’m still working through the first one, when I get a text message, “Grama, I’m all done, what’s next!?” Now, I’m the novice.

While I was learning, I realized I needed a couple of projects to practice on—I learn better when I have a practical application. So, we have been pulling out all of the old family videos and photos and combining those with current projects into a nice mix of activities.

The family gatherings have been centering around the old tapes and photo catalogues. The 2008 version of the Burton family photo album is now the laptop instead of the traditional hard book style, with thFamilyAlbume constant maintenance of keeping the aging photos from falling out, ripping, and fading. I’m holding over 20,000 photos in the palm of my hand. Can you imagine the bulk if this were all hard copies?

Instead of the traditional request for copies of favorite photos, it’s now, “Will you put this all on DVD, so I can have access and work on it myself?”

It’s gratifying to see that all of this technology is so accepted and expected by the children we were holding on our laps at the computers only a few years ago. When they still needed help crawling up into a chair at our house, they were encouraged to use the computers. When they first started, I would put something entertaining on the screen and give them a disconnected keyboard. I know, that tapping keys to create an outcome contributes in some way to some very important brain development, somewhere deep in their little heads.

They simply imitated us and were very happy when they hit the keys and something would coincidentally happen on the monitor. For them, it seemed to be more entertaining than most of the other toys or TV. They were involved and engaged and having great fun! It didn’t take any of them very long to figure out the keyboard was disconnected from the action on the screen. There was a very short learning curve as each one began the educational games phase. Now, each child over eight in our family has their own workstation or laptop, while the younger ones are still at the disconnected keyboard stage progressing toward fun educational programs. (The all time favorites for the young toddlers have been and remain, the “Little Critter” series and “Mr. Potato Head!”)

Not only do they have their own ipods, cells and computers, they are at various stages of generating videos, learning how to be safe on-line, and making their own blogs. DSC00013_0154They have progressed from the technology of finger paints to that of Painter v10 on their laptops. Cool! I love it when a plan comes together.

I love how learning even the simplest technology gives each individual child such empowering experiences. I recall, how out of shear desperation twenty years ago, I began teaching each grand child in turn, how to use the TV remote control. It was one thing that was “off limits” and such a coveted toy with all of its colorful buttons. Their little fingers barely able to hold onto the remote, they could so precisely control one of their favorite activities. The look that came over their faces when they realized they held the power of their world in their own hands, was truly thrilling. Instead of wanting to play with the remote, they actually used it. It went from desirable button toy to essential tool in a matter of seconds. Next, of course, was learning the delicate procedures of using laser disks and DVDs. Today, I watch those same delicate fingers in a blur speeding across the keypads as they constantly text on their cells.

Whenever I conquer some new technology, I am thrilled at my accomplishments and amazed at how all kinds of technologies make our lives so much easier allowing us to communicate anything effortlessly. When an event happens, it is being twittered within seconds around the world.

I strongly feel, we have an ethical obligation as sentient beings to learn, invent, share and provide technologies to the younger generations to increase their opportunities for education and self-expression. And, that by this practice, our culture will move at an accelerated pace into a future of maximum health and well-being for humans, other species and the earth.

So goes the progression of summer 2008 at the Burton camp.


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