Literacy No More?

Literacy No More?

By TLB Contributing Author: Lucille Femine

I notice when I post articles or anything lengthy (more than 200 words?) on Facebook, most of my friends – though quite intelligent and well read – choose not to read them, although they read and comment on other things I post, as much as anyone else.

So…either they consider me boring – a nasty thought I’m going to trash right now. Who needs more self-doubt? We give enough to ourselves. More than at the office.

Ok, next possibility – it’s just a social site. They don’t want to wade through more than twenty words. Hmmm…that’s often a qualification for me, too. Now, a good majority of my friends are deeply aware and concerned about world issues, as they should be. They care what happens to humanity. So, is a social site not the place for such things? I would like to think they get involved on sites specific to those issues. Actually, I know many of them do.

However, how many people read serious, vital things that are five hundred words or more? I invite your opinions and viewpoints. I don’t have actual statistics.

Here’s one viewpoint: Facebook president Sean Parker makes a startling comment on the video below regarding what Facebook is doing to children’s minds …

My question: How far has this society fallen into the abyss of social media? And where has literacy gone? Is she out of a job and searching for greener-pastured minds somewhere?

Or has Sean Parker aligned himself with the Media in promoting fear and falsehoods?

I can point the finger at Common Core and that certainly is a cause … or possibly just a symptom.

We are miseducationing out children and failing to inspire our young adults to expand beyond Facebook, Twitter, etc and the mini world of their phones.

Actually, certain forces are SABOTAGING our children’s education. Many of you have read that education today is to make workers, not thinkers. True. And helped along by drugs and bad food. Regardless of the source which is only briefly the subject of this article, children are coming out of school unprepared for a life of their own. They rarely know their purpose or direction. The main thing they “learn” is: Get a job. Get credit cards. Slave your life away paying them off.

Is all that plotted out? Most likely. Perceive what it is doing and what “products” are coming out of it. Anything good or bad is created.

Sure, there are young people making a great life and becoming quite successful in their chosen field. But, remarkably, many of these people never finished school or at least didn’t go to college. Hmmm. Miseducation. There’s proof that many I.Q.s go DOWN with traditional schooling, enough to make one satisfied with factory or office work, despite their childhood dreams.

In this scenario, who has time or inclination to read more than 500 words? Or well-written, thought-provoking novels and non-fiction?

The main point of this article and what I want to stress most is that education is the bedrock of any society. When people are trained into stupidity, they don’t function. They make serious mistakes. They take drugs. Some become criminals. Many go on welfare.

The society dies.

I certainly hope social media is not throwing dirt on the grave. But if you read on, I’ve thought this out.

I choose a method of education where children are first taught the basics of reading, writing and simple, usable math (the old stuff was just fine!) and then encouraged to find their passion. And then fully educated in that area or field or niche, making sure they truly understand everything they read and then made to DO what is needed to master it.

Just like a doctor or dentist is made to perform thoroughly (I hope) before being unleashed into the world of bodies and teeth, so all children should have that right to be true experts. Only by doing can one prove that. However, education is still done by spitting out answers on tests, forgotten a week later. Tell me how that benefits anyone?

Okay, the above has been pessimistic. Now for the good stuff. The internet is incredible, amazing and not going away. Here is our opportunity to truly educate ourselves and our children through the vast amount of instant access to data and videos available. I, personally, have learned a huge amount of things. I’m sure many of you have to.

An article, “How The Internet is Revolutionizing Education”, says, “Benjamin Hubbard, the Manager of Webcast at UC Berkeley, the school has had well over 120 million downloads since first sharing videos online, which they began doing in 2001.”

He says:

“I think there’s a wide array of reasons why faculty should be engaged in recording and publishing lectures online. The first is wanting students to have access to materials. The second is for cultivating a really great affinity for a public university that’s providing research and community service. The third is closely aligned with this opportunity to provide educational resources all over the world to those from all walks of life, despite what disadvantages they have faced. It’s so important that we recognize as a public institution that this is something people value greatly and has great value for us too.”

This article also states, “10 years ago in April 2001, Charles M. Vest, the MIT President at the time, announced that the university would make its materials for all its courses freely available on the Internet.” How’s that for a wide open door?

So what does this fantastic internet growth really come down to? It rests on your responsibility to choose what links your finger hits. You don’t HAVE to look at Facebook for hours. I believe the internet has vastly overtaken traditional schooling, full of forced, ancient areas of study never truly learned and with little visual understanding.

In the end, I don’t really agree with Sean Parker. Possibly, he might just have a beef somewhere; I don’t really know. But I believe he is excluding the element of personal responsibility. The fact is, from the viewpoint of making one’s own choices, which is a fundamental task of educators – to help children be self-reliant, ethical and responsible – the Internet, plus some great outdoors and classroom work, is our greatest tool. Use it wisely. And protect it from certain forces that are afraid we are getting too smart.

The internet is not the target. But certain people and groups will, and have tried to malign it for their own lust for power and domination and their claims to “protect us”.

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TLB Note: Lucille is a longtime friend and contributor to TLB. She is also an author, writer, researcher, podcast show host, activist, and an exceptional artist to boot! To enjoy more of Lucille’s wisdom, research and presentation … CLICK HERE

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