My daughters new favourite word is iPad. Yes, iPad. She is completely in love with her dad's iPhone and iPad, and my iPad touch. It started as a simple love affair where she just wanted to go into the 'photos' section and look at pictures of herself. However, it has now branched out, and she has a selection of apps she likes to look at - songs, alphabet, Diego, and she still enjoys the pictures too. Beyond that, she will pick up one of the devices, slide the lock over, shoot the pages across the screen until she finds the folder with her name on it, opens it and plays with her assorted apps. Its scary to think how advanced this generation of kids is, and will be.
This past week I was teaching a goal setting workshop to a group of more than 30 teenagers. At the end of the session I had them write a letter to themselves that I will mail to them in one year's time to remind them of the goals they have set. Seems simple, right? Until I started handing out the envelopes it was.
At that point several of the students started asking me how to address the envelope - "what do I write after my name?", "what goes next?" I had to keep saying "can you add your name to it?" and "don't forget your postal code!". At least half of the group struggled with writing their address on the envelope. I was confused at first (these kids are in their mid to late teens), but then quickly realized, many have them have likely never addressed an envelope!
What ever happened to the beauty of the post? Pen pals? I spent a good portion of my youth sending fun letters to my cousin out west with colourfully decorated envelopes, clearly addressed! Apparently these kids are all email all the time.
My favourite comment came from one student who had written his address in a straight line across the top of the envelope, with his name in the middle. I commented on the way he had done it, and he said "that's how all the mail comes to me...well, its how all my ebay packages arrive!". Of course. These kids live in an almost exclusively digital world.
With my little one's well-honed iPad skills, she is going to be a part of this digital generation too. But, believe me, she'll be able to address an envelope perfectly.