International Day of Education
When it comes to education in the year 2020, we are stuck somewhere between ease of access and the struggle to retain information. If you’re over the age of 21, then you most likely remember the “joys” of writing out notes; copying “word association” off the chalk board at school or visiting your nearest library for research purposes – or even just to read to broaden your knowledge. If you’re younger than 21 however, then you probably only know what it is like to have information constantly available, via your trusty mobile device(s). With the evolution of technology, we can fact check and research faster and easier than ever before, but is this a good or bad advancement?
For some people and certain occasions, this is excellent. No longer “wasting” time looking for the correct page in a book, or having to attend a lecture to make necessary notes; it’s all available on a mobile device now, making things easier for sure. But is easier better? Perhaps with small facts and irrelevant subjects, but when it comes to fully understanding something, people are falling behind. Why think about something and develop an understanding when you can simply find out and forget – because you can always just go back and check again at a later stage.
We are inundated with information, most of it completely unnecessary. Social Media may have helped us to connect and keep in contact, but at the same time it floods our lives with memes, gifs, jokes and pictures of other peoples’ food. There are of course constructive posts on social media, but we need to spend a great deal of our time sifting through ads and reposts before we can stumble upon something useful.
With the International day of education upon us (24 January), we need to remind ourselves what education really is. Knowing something now and forgetting it in ten minutes isn’t education, it’s simply repetition. We need to step back from making life easier, and start making life worthwhile. Understanding is why we are here, knowing why the sky is blue and understanding why are two separate things.
Think about going to the doctor, imagine she or he tells you what is wrong with you, but in the same breath, he or she demonstrates that they don’t fully understand the “why”. Knowing the facts is important, but knowing the details is paramount.
This goes for everything in life. We have so much information available to us, we just need to start looking at things “holistically” so to speak… like a doctor looking at your diet and lifestyle as well as the facts of your possible illness. Having our devices on hand to check information is important and a fantastic scientific advancement; but that doesn’t mean we should cease the ways of the past. Just because emails and social media are easier than letters, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write letters to one another. Writing has been proven to help ones brain and mental functions – even a casual letter to a friend of colleague will be beneficial. The movement of one’s hand combined with the thought process has been proven to boost creativity – something not as easily achievable via text message or IM.
We have one go at this existence, we need to make the most of it in every sense. No one wants to be ignorant or to miss out on something, so why limit your education. Today, we need to remind ourselves and those around us what makes us human; what makes us different from machines or animals as a whole. We are emotional, intelligent beings with the ability to think creatively – every one of us. Educate yourself and those around you, for education isn’t something you complete, it is a life long endeavour.
Words by Matthew Scott Smith, guest writer.