Did you hear this program featuring the President's point person on digital education? Karen Cator extols a number of ways in which providing each child access to his or her own computer will enhance education. After all, she argues, ask any child what she spends much of her time doing throughout the day, and she will answer "waiting." So the argument goes that if the Department of Education gives each child a digital device, it will eliminate the need for students to sit idly waiting for a lesson to begin or for a school bus to reach it's destination.
|image from St. Peter's by-the-Sea School, NY|
To which I say, have we learned nothing from "Baby Einstein" fraud?! And that is not even mentioning the millions of achievements in the sciences, arts and humanities that were born out of that "idle' time a person spends drifting between activities! Even the original Einstein needed time to ponder the way the world works. Can you imagine how easy it would have been for him to split the concentration that it must have taken him to say, visualize the theory of relativity, if he was never expected to wait between activities?
|Harold, filling the void with the stuff of his imagination|
Which brings me to the 2013 Sketchbook Project. How many artists do you think spent a good portion of their childhoods doodling in the margins of their school notebooks? If you were one of them, then you understand how 'Bored' can be a launch pad for big ideas. What starts off as idle scribbling can transform unexpectedly into a masterpiece as your mind wanders in and out of thoughts, connecting them in new ways. Instead of entering into a space crowded with bottomless information, you stroll onto a blank page, wondering lazily where you are, until you recognize the world that you've drawn around yourself.
Come to think of it, maybe the department of eduction should start providing students with sketchbooks instead of ipads ;)