I'll give you credit for an original theory, but with the hand held devices the latest Western generations have had, these are the most hands stimulated kids in history. You think woodworking class a few times a week can compete with texting, playing PSP, typing 100 words a minute, and playing with various other gadgets I can't even imagine? Hand eye coordination is the best it has ever been thanks to first person shoot em ups, those kids are now being recruited by the military to fly armed drone aircraft.There is a difference between the gaming and manipulation of hand held devices and the manipulation of real material with real tools, and the level of satisfaction that a child receives from real accomplishments can be an order of magnitude higher than that derived in twitter. Unfortunately, this can't be merely explained to be understood.
Yes, the proliferation of hand held devices does tell us that this generation just like so many before it is compelled to engage the world primarily through its hands. But look at the posture of a kid texting with thumbs, verses the posture of a child actually creating something. We are being narrowed in our range, not only of action but of perception as well.
Maslow said that if the only tool you have is a hammer, all the world's problems look like nails. If we want our children to be problem solvers, we need to give them a range of tools. Not just powerful computers, but the fine instruments, large and small that provide the cultural foundation of our humanity.
I can hardly expect many to understand this. We are no longer a culture of makers. We're consumers of mass quantities instead.
Sure, it is glamorous to sit in a room in Phoenix and blast terrorists through the sites of a drone in Iraq, using the raw power invested in your quick quivering thumbs. But try making something that is real. It is far more interesting and can last for generations. And sadly, if we don't teach our children to be makers, guess what they will become instead?
The following is from Charles H. Ham, 1886:
It is the most astounding fact of history that education has been confined to abstractions. The schools have taught history, mathematics, language and literature, and the sciences, to the utter exclusion of the arts, notwithstanding the obvious fact that it is through the arts alone that the other branches of learning touch human life.I will remind my readers that the creative use of the hands is also the means to raise interest in learning. You can see from the way children relate to hands-on electronic devices, the power of the hands to engage their interest and attention. But don't they deserve something better to do with their hands than tweet?