“Beam me up”, but sign the disclaimer first. Why the future is more prosaic than i had anticipated.

I’m slightly disappointed with myself today. I seem to have grown up.

When i was eight, i built a Tricorder, and it was pretty much the most exciting thing ever. (Note for the uninitiated: a Tricorder is the gadget that Kirk used when he beamed down to the planet surface. Further note: if you are unfamiliar with the terms ‘Kirk’ and ‘Beamed’, now is probably the time to leave, but please come back tomorrow, when we will have returned to Earth).

Sure, my particular Tricorder was made of wood and, to some eyes, may have resembled the mortice and tenon joint that i’d made in CBT, but to me, with the application of a little imagination, it was simply splendid. It didn’t need to make the beeps, because i could make them myself, and it didn’t need to have the flashing lights, because in my imagination, the whole sky was alight with them.

The thought that, one day, Tricorders would exist was far fetched and likely to be accompanied by people with pointy ears and significant lycra.

But somehow, whilst i wasn’t looking, it happened, and all it was accompanied by was a significant phone bill and poor reception.

My iPhone may not quite be a Tricorder, but if i’m honest, it’s not far off. Certainly it can’t read your vital signs as you lie prone on the deck, but it can certainly find the next train to Clapham and, in my world, that’s pretty much the next best thing. But whatever the technology, i’m not as excited about it as i should be. It turns out that the future does not arrive, accompanied by Klingons and a slightly bemused androids. It arrives with a long disclaimer from Microsoft and me being slightly bemused at my inability to use android.

Funny how life turns out sometimes.

But where is the excitement? How did i become so accepting of the prosaic? When did i stop dreaming of becoming a rock star, or an astronaut, or of having my own jetpack? (don’t worry, i’m only 38, still two years before i need to have had my first hit single).

Learning is often about facts and figures, about changing behaviours and attitudes, about exams and learning objectives, but, all too often, not about the excitement, the joy, the flashing lights and the chance to touch the stars.

Last week i had an email from within my own business that said ‘it is a requirement that you carry out twenty hours of approved learning a year’. A requirement? A task? Something that needs to be approved? Are you kidding? Learning is a privilege, and a pleasure, it’s something that we do every day. Who’s to say what good learning is? Who knows where the connections lie? I’m qualified in material science, marine archaeology and media, pretty much none of which qualify me for my job, but my own learning journey has been like fireworks going off in my brain, leaping from one galaxy to another, barely even touching what’s possible. I don’t worry about doing twenty hours of learning a year, i worry about the number of books i can possibly read in my lifetime.

How did we lose the excitement and accept the blandness? I own a real life Tricorder! Sure, it comes with a bill, but what doesn’t?

Note to self: carry on dreaming and never be afraid to use your imagination.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Excitement, Learning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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