Why teach technology?

Technology should be easy to use, right? Who needs lessons? Technology is supposed to make our lives better, easier, smarter; and we don’t have time to read manuals.

Besides, each new

  • desktop application upgrade
  • smartphone or PDA
  • rich web application

…pretty much work the same way, right?  Wrong.

"Don't touch that VCR!"

Remember VCRs? Just getting the thing to record was an ordeal. Most of us didn’t even try. We used our VCRs only to watch videos: just pop in the tape. And we used this technology way short of its potential for decades.

Sound familiar? We use only 10% of our minds. Not because we've lost the other 90%, but because we don't have access to it.


In William Gibson's book, Neuromancer, Case cannot "jack into" Cyberspace because his nervous system is damaged. He can't use it anymore. Like neuroscientist, Dr. Carol Mase, says, "Synapses that fire together, stay hard-wired together": If you don't use it, you lose it. We stand to lose much of the technology available to us, because we can't figure out how it works.

Intuitive understanding

The desktop is a great idea for how to teach technology. The notion of files in folders is very intuitive. With an "intuitive" understanding of how an app works we simply “know” where to click to make it do what we want it to.

An icon is a perfect example. The real thing... is "metamorphed..." 

to represent the icon we click to open a file: 

It’s the way we think...in metaphors, or "conceptual blends" as the cognitive scientists say. 

Teach technology: The next wave

That's why I think that the next wave of Learning & Development is to teach technology. Admit it: It comes as a surprise to you when your daughter sends you an email with a picture of her and her best friend walking across the Brooklyn Bridge...in real time. If you have no idea how to do that, no worries, you are not alone. 

A virtuous cycle

Teach technology helps us use the gadgets growing up around us to their full potential. The easier it is for us to use these gadgets, the more technology we will demand; and the better technology inventors will make for us...and so on in a virtuous cycle of innovation moving at the speed of light.  Here we go!
Because knowledge is growing exponentially, only technology, with its infinite opportunities for interactive learning, could provide us with the platform for learning at the speed of light. This is what got me going:

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