Has Technology made Picture Taking any Better?

Part One – The Evolution of Family Photography

How we took pictures Anciently:  Tried not to burn ourselves getting a piece of charcoal out of the fire.  Sketched on a rock.  Left the picture unfinished because we were chased by a bear.

CameraManHow we took pictures Antiquely:   Paid a photographer.  Posed in a bone corset or starched shirt holding your pose long enough for the image to be recorded.  Inhaled toxic chemicals.  Put the picture in a frame on the mantle until it gathered dust and ended up in an antique store.

How we took pictures Old School:  Shot a roll or two of film.  Mailed it away and waited weeks.  Then we shuffled through the prints, mostly blurry and put them in an album or more likely in a shoe box.  Took them out every two years to laugh at our bad hair.  Found our pictures 30 years later on a greeting card.

How we take pictures Today:  Take 20-50 shots.  Have the subject “approve” them.  Forget to delete the bad ones.  Spend 10 hours learning Photoshop.  Spend hours every month uploading them on icloud.  Try to make room for new ones, but give up.  Shake our heads that we still don’t like the way we look.

Is Cursive Writing Cursed?

Technology has brought some wonderfully distracting innovations into my life, such as how Instagram tempts me to frame a beautiful glass of Tawny Port when I should be folding laundry.

The consistent rise of technological gadgets, and the need for speed, has favoured keyboards over cursive writing in the academic world of Canadian children.   I know school boards feel pressure, mostly from parents and politicians, to keep a certain global pace, but isn’t there room for the keyboard and the pen?

Keyboards do not allow for the tactile-kinesthetic actions needed to set down crucial pathways in developing brains, particularly for children under age three. Psychology Today said that cursive writing is perfect for sensation, movement control and thinking; and a May 2008, MIT Journal of ImageCognitive Neuroscience states that stronger and longer lasting recognition of characters comes from writing by hand, compared to those being typed.

Brain plasticity aside, pen-to-paper versus keyboarding has other benefits such as fostering patience, respect and ultimately even old-school manners.

Why?  Because it slows us down.  It trains us to concentrate.  It allows our brain time to linger over patterns, spaces and ideas.   It is expressive as an art form.  It prompts us to think about spelling, grammar and meaning because it takes longer to correct.

Most importantly to me it that cursive writing is connected to a Culture in a specific time period – my time.  My granddaughter is only three, but I’m already waxing poetic about the loss of her ability to copy a quick recipe on an index card for a friend, to personally pen a thank you note or to read the back of an antique photo or any other document, for that matter, that preceded the 1990’s.

Whether it be grinding spices for Butter Chicken, how to walk-the-dog yoyo style or to write by hand, secretly I think our adult children want us to play the “when I was a girl” card.  They will roll their eyes and then ask their kids to humour us old folk as we teach old-school ways.

A local teacher’s supply store can provide writing materials that the two of us can play with together after break dancing, a tea party and yes, even facetime with her great-grandma Jo.

What old-school thing do you want to share with your child or grandchild?