Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Are we becoming devicive?

No, there's no typo. I mean devicive and not divisive (which sadly, we are becoming with all these compartments we tend to create).  But I just coined this word:

devi·cive [dih-vahy-siv, -vis-iv]
Tending to show off expensive devices; gadgety
This occurred to me when my son's school had an "after-school electronics party" where they were supposed to bring in a small electronic gadget and share it with it others. They were allowed to be creative in picking such a device. My son is in 2nd grade.

He complained on the day before the party, "Baba, we have this party tomorrow and everyone plans to bring in iPod Touch, iPad, Xbox, Samsung Phone, Nintendo DS, and so on. What should I carry?" I knew that a day like this might come. I just did not know that it would be this soon. I was rather disappointed that at the electronics party, the kids are not bringing in those electronic devices that spark some fun. I didn't realize that Apple gadgets, Android-Samsung smartphones and Nintendo DS's are supposed to make us parents stop thinking :-). Are these devices what we want 2nd graders to think of, when we mean Electronics?

A binary clock
I looked around the house and suggested to him of the gadget that is by his desk and has faithfully displayed the time every time ;) -- his binary clock! It fit the bill and he's always liked it and he was so happy to have made that choice. I was of course proud that I didn't have to make a trip to Apple Store. I was more proud of my son because he spontaneously accepted this suggestion even when peer pressure is not easily surmountable. In fact, later on, somebody told him, "Hey buddy, I liked your binary clock!" and he was very happy!

Don't get me wrong. I did not want to seem different for the sake of being different, nor did I want to suggest that my 2nd grader son knows how to read a binary clock. It was just a sensible choice (I thought) we made when confronted with an unexpected situation (which is what life is all about). I wish I had created (made) a small electronic device along with him, but alas, there was not enough time.

Again, it's not that I hate the devices. I love them. I like creative products that many companies come up with. And I believe that Apple, Sony, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo have done a great job in creating such devices, but I don't think those devices should distort (or conveniently enhance!) our understanding of Electronics -- our 2nd graders' notions of electronic gadgets don't have to start and end with an iDevice.

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