How Can We Raise Smart Grown-ups With Technology?
By Raymond E. Zvavanyange (@zvavanyanger3) & Sandra Zvavanyange-Muranganwa
“Whilst we might be tempted to judge that the call for smart grown-ups is only suited to urban settings, we find that it is even relevant in rural settings, where we have the majority of the people living in, especially in most African countries.”
The classroom of time is the mind and the door to the mind is interaction, connectedness and engagement – enabled through technology and still, rapid digital technologies. ‘Smart grown-up’ turn out to be today’s free-thinker and doer.
The positive impact of technology to society is commendable. For instance, the difference between childhood and adulthood is fast becoming blurred with the growing research and awareness that creativity and intelligence is found in each of us. This is before we even consider how old somebody is or consider where they come from – whether rural or urban.
The creative work done by StreetSmart with vulnerable children proves that we can reintegrate vulnerable children into the moral, social, and technological life. Soon, we might just have our first batch of small children who are not only street smart but world smart as well. We envision them as social justice leaders, founders of businesses and companies, as inspirational figures who stand for what is right wherever they are.
Technology is facilitating social change in our world regions and cultures. It has eased has eased up communication and relationships among family members, sometimes for the good and sometimes, contributed to sour relationships. In the former scenario, technology is the ultimate accomplishment of the moment whereas in the latter, none would want to be associated with its resulting downside. Indeed, our long-cherished family bonds should not be tempered with.
Stories of the growing fixation with smart lifestyles, smart technology, and smart people continue to influence the way we interact with the world around us. We have become flexible, adaptable, and self-regulating. But we have also left out equipping adults with the necessary tools to fully navigate the new social and technological world as we raise our children.
According to the World Development Report (2015) Mind, Society, and Behavior, there is a common thread that ties the ways of thinking to goods and services, as well as economics – the developmental field. This thread is a researchers, scientists, and practitioners. Each time we see people and things around us, we construct images and realities, frame them as well as make decisions around what we perceive through our senses.
Whilst we might be tempted to judge that the call for smart grown-ups is only suited to urban settings, we find that it is even relevant in rural settings, where we have the majority of the people living in, especially in most African countries. First, because the indigenous and traditional systems is not fully studied for deep insights, and second, rural settings are unique in their own way, with all kinds of nodes and networks that one would typically find in a complex world, exemplified through technology.
The late family counselor, Nancy L. Van Pelt’s Train up a Child, might be timely called “Train Up a Adult”. We can train our children in the way we want them to go and who they become in latter stages of life. More so, the dynamics surrounding comprehension and understanding change every second. Alan Turing and others confirmed by the rise of computers, algorithms, and artificial intelligence. Anne Murphy Paul also maintains a brilliant blog on learning and raising smart children, taking from learning in classroom environments. We need smart grown-ups who can master such unfolding brilliant complexity. We can raise smart grown-ups.
A smart grown-up meaning the adult is intelligent, capable of change, agile, and above all, fluid – ‘can take any form’ in the words of Hugh Herr in a TED Talk on bionics or simply, ‘future artificial limbs’. Smart grown-ups must lead in the redesign of our physical environments to accommodate for our many and conflicting needs and wants. Smart grown-ups guarantee us of a future that is free of the present challenges – climate change, food shortages, water problems, and leadership issues.
How far this quest will be achieved will be up to the ‘educators’ of the mind – form of communication and its associated tools, channels, and mediums, whether open-source or closed.
Nevertheless, what is certain is this: technology is a game changer in raising smart grown-ups.
Raymond E. Zvavanyange (@zvavanyanger3) & Sandra Zvavanyange-Muranganwa writes from Zimbabwe.