Fantastic Friday: Connectivity

In a discussion with some students, I was made aware of the startling number of hours teenagers spend “on their phones.” When I asked what they did with all that time, they admitted that mostly their time was spent using apps like Snapchat and Instagram, browsing others’ posts and pictures on social media.

When we talked about the wealth of information on the Internet, and how many news articles or science articles they might read in one day, they looked perplexed. One article per day was apparently well above the average.

We discussed all the Internet had to offer, all that connectivity provides us, and I took solace in the fact that I at least seemed to open some of their eyes. In subsequent classes, a few admitted to me they’d been reading more articles and becoming more aware of their world. This was heartening.

Compared to the past, when wars would officially end long before the fighting parties could be made aware, we live in the Information Age. We carry more in our pockets than most previous generations encountered in their entire lives.

One particularly interesting find I’ve come across is free, digitized access to Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. What would in the past be accessible only in a museum display, with the journal open to only a few pages, or reproduced through the lens of an editor in a printed book, is now open to anyone with Internet access.

While I can’t read his words, I can view his drawings, his scribbles, his passion.

It’s the same wonder I feel when I realize I can view images from Mars, courtesy of NASA, simply by opening a webpage.

It’s easy these days to become annoyed at the Internet and the tendency of phones/apps to distract us from daily life; it’s important every now and again to appreciate the true extent of what is offered by those resources as well.

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