My Nuclear Learning Curve
Learning used to mean sitting at a desk and staring forward while listening to an instructor dispense information. Learning meant looking at a chalkboard.
To this day I can still remember my first grade experience. My classroom in Cedar City, Utah had rows of little wooden desks. Mostly, I recall our days being interrupted by those God-awful nuclear bomb drills. During the drills we hid under our desks, somehow convinced we were safe from a meltdown. We took iodine pills to protect our thyroids from radiation exposure. The bomb was real and learning was serious. If there were any disobedient kids, they were dealt with, swiftly and effectively. It was a different world then.
In the midst of the nuclear arms race, it’s amazing any of us learned to read, write and do math. After all, we did not have any cell phones, fax machines, color televisions, computers or tablets PC’s and an apple were something you ate. If someone said, “You Tube” in those days it was interpreted as a pipe bent into the shape of the letter U.
School was a big deal, education was heralded as the path to greatness and the American dream. A few years later, high school sports became our social networking channel and the school, together with Friday night games and Saturday track meets, was the primary means of interaction, at all levels. This was my social network.
Since then, there has been a lot of learning. I am today surrounded by a global book. Information is ubiquitous and does not know the restraints of time. Learning is in my face. Kids today can type 90 words per minute, not on a typewriter but on their iPhone. We are moving very fast, I’m not sure I like the speed. Learning is like a fast, short, straight line…hell, there is no curve anymore! The shortest distance between two points is the Internet. Want to know something… Google it! Want to spread knowledge around the world…do something smart, clever, stupid or creative and then make it go viral.
Over time, my personal learning curve has become a lot like yours; a straight road to knowledge. Somehow the notion of curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace makes me feel human again. Once again, reading words, one-by-one, page-by-page, chapter-by-chapter slows my breathing and heart rate, lowers my stress and reminds me…I can create my own learning curve.
It may seem odd, but the old wooden desk with a pencil holder has a kind of settling appeal, absent the drills and pills.
Still…I love learning!