Monday, March 18, 2013

Messing Around: What Teens Get About the Internet that Seniors Need to Know! @TheAtlantic

National Geographic: How to take lanscape photos.
There is a lot we can learn from our grandchildren...especially when it comes to technology. We have known since forever that, when we could not figure out the cell phone or computer, all we need do is call a young person and they would teach us what we needed to know.

But that is not all. It could be that we are only scratching the surface.  Teens get it that the online world can enrich our lives. Even though most adults think that their teens only like the social part of cyber space. But parents may be surprised to know that those same teens know about the internet that sparks their imagination and gives them opportunities direct their own learning.

That is why I thought that The Atlantic article, What Teens Get About the Computer, might interest you. This article reminded me that, when we reach a certain age, we are more like teens than we are like professionals. We need to be free to learn, grow and use our imagination but we do not need a calendar filled with more things to do.

The article spoke about a busy stressed college bound child that wanted to learn to play the guitar...just because it might be fun and their friends were doing it. The parent was up for buying lessons and driving the child across the city to find a wonderful teacher. However, the teen didn't want another thing to do on their schedule (sound familiar?). They just wanted to play guitar. They thought it might be a fun way to spend time with new friends. The parent had forgotten about the joy of simply figuring things out on your own. Here is what the author said: daughter wants to mess around with the guitar and the Internet and pursue some interests at a pace that doesn't feel like the relentlessly scheduled pressure of school [] and structured activities...the Internet [can be] a lifeline for self-directed learning and connection to peers. 
The joy of doing something a little or a lot just because I want to is one of the great freedoms of being my age.  Self-directed learning is a big part of my life. If an interest connects me with my peers, so much the better. Like the younger teens, those of us that are older teens know that friends are very important too.

Self-directed by YOU
There are so many possibilities out there.  For example, Senior Planet published an article on their website about Open Education courses for obligation, no pressure, no cost, probably no timeline. The post is called Learn All You Can: Free (click here for the list). Senior Planet sorted out the very best. This is a good thing for obvious reasons:
Open Education...some professors are deathly boring and/or their lectures are mired in procedural info that you don’t need, so we’ve done some browsing and listed the 10 most interesting, engaging and user-friendly courses.
If you want to mess around with art or even wonder about what a class in Intro to Psychology might be about, give it a go. They have links to classes called Darwin and Design, String Theory...., Elementary French and even one called Financial Markets.  Really, there is something for everyone.

However, if you are not up for a college class and really would prefer to fritter around with your guitar, just type how to play the guitar in a search on YouTube. There is a whole wealth of information and how-to videos on just about any subject out there waiting for you. The internet is your lifeline for self-directed learning. Have fun!

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