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KIP & CAF Projects

I've Got Emails, Daddy

Conversations with toddlers can often be rather surreal affairs. My three-year-old likes to talk about walking in the bavine, changing the TV channel with a bemote (her rs still sound like bs, bless her) and asks me why I’m not at work when the family are relaxing at home on the weekend. We can have long conversations about why it’s not bedtime and she’s also good at using the word no, sometimes over and over and over again. Another thing she’s good at is playing with the mouse on the computer. That was something which amazed me.

I had just finished working on the computer and had shut the Internet down when I noticed that she had climbed up onto the seat and was mimicking the way I used the mouse. She could move it perfectly. And she said: “I want to check my emails, daddy.” Truly. It really made me think about the differences between the next generations and people like me, who grew up with model cars rather than electronic toys.
Indeed, for as long as I can remember, I have been clueless about technology. When I was at school we had one computer room filled with huge, black bulky boxes which looked like they belonged on a set of Doctor Who much less a classroom. At this time Atari was considered cutting edge and Pac-Man was a global 80s hero. I taught my mom and dad how to set the video recorder but to be quite honest, I can’t even do that now. My wife does all that stuff and, fortunately, she can also do minor electrical work as well.
In my defence, I can wash dishes and don’t mind getting my hands dirty with the laundry. I’m good at lifting up stray pieces of plastic and wooden objects – in various states of disrepair – that the kids seem to love leaving in the strangest of places.
At work it’s much the same – which is ironic given the very technical IT subject matter I deal with every day. Recently I faxed seven blank pages to a colleague in Athabasca who was waiting for information relating to the FOCUS newsletter we put together. She calmly sent me an email telling me to turn them over. On another occasion I managed to send out an all-staff email with an attachment to the newsletter that didn’t work.
However, one of the main reasons I wanted to work here was to improve my understanding of all things digital. I would like to think that I have enough knowledge to do my job effectively (I think, gulp) but I want to learn about mapping drives, downloading applications and iPads so that I can pass that information on to my children before they have to start teaching me. And it’s one of the reasons why the CAF and KIP programs are so important.
The world is changing. The way people learn is changing. People are twittering and telling each other what they had for dinner on Facebook. There’s so much knowledge at your fingertips it’s truly incredible – you can find out absolutely anything on the internet when previously a trip to the library or a glance at a hefty encyclopedia would have been in order. But some things stay the same. Kids and students of every description need and want to learn and in another 20 years time that will still be the case. CAF and KIP can help us reach out the virtual branch of knowledge so that everyone, rich or poor, young and old and black or white, can continue to enrich their lives through learning.