A literate society

It occured to me today how important a literate society is in our age of technology.   The “demise” of education has been occuring lately with the games kids play, the TV they watch etc. etc.  Yada Yada.  These complaints ebb and flow.  However, being able to use the language and having a large vocabulary and being able to think in thesaurus terms is very important.  Moreso than I used to think with so much of our learning and information being audio-visual.  But to find the right video, but to find the right recording.  Indexing won’t ever be fully reduced to the level of exactness that a human with a limited vocabulary will get what they are looking for.  Why?  Because different humans think differently and file things differently.  So you’d better know the words they other guy used to label and file it!

Example #1:

Tonight I was searching for something on YouTube.  What I wanted didn’t come up right way.  So I tried a different but similar term.  No go.  I think it was the third or fourth term that brought me what I was looking for.  What occured to me is that without a large vocabulary I wouldn’t even find what I wanted to learn about on YouTube.  Hmmm she says… hmmmm

Example #2:

This is a bit more esoteric so you can feel free to shoot holes in it.  I was speaking with a new friend, C., the other day.  C. isn’t so hot on using computers.  She’s the art type – used to working with real materials.  Which, I’ll admit, I respect and admire.  But she’s struggling with a computer and a new operating system.  I was trying to tell her that it wasn’t as difficult as she was making it.  A spreadsheet program is a spreadsheet program.   She said, yeah, but they name things differently.  I tried to explain that no they just use synonyms.  The functions are effectively the same.  The process and output is effectively the same.

Just think of the synonym or the “other way of filing” a function and she’ll find what she needs in the program.  She struggled with that.

My point being – having a large vocabulary makes it easier for you to find what you really want.  Education is, still, so very important.  Although I’ll admit that self-education on a wide range of topics is becoming real through the net.  Videos help enormously.  You can watch the demo, read about it, read other’s comments, feedback and solutions.  Does that mean we move towards a collaborative society?  ooohhh goody.  I hope so.

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~ by mud on November 10, 2007.

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