Sandra Dodd

Just Add Light and Stir's entry for today has had an addendum, so I brought it here because a lot of my subscribers are probably here, and because it's worth considering. Whether you can milk a cow or text in the dark, you still don't know what kids will be doing 10 or 15 years from now that you won't know how to do, and so couldn't have taught them to do.

Years ago my granny complained that I didn't know how to use a fountain pen or milk a cow. I never learned to use a slide rule, either. I did learn to type on a manual typewriter with a blank keyboard. Things change. I don't know how to send text messages, though I do finally own a cellphone. My kids all are whizzes at it.

The quote above was written in 2007 ( ). I can text now, awkwardly.

Yesterday at the Apple store, getting a battery replaced in Holly's MacBook, the guy handed me a charge-card reader and said "Sign with your finger." Luckily, I've been playing Draw Something all week, and have been writing with my finger on an iPad, so I just did it. No stylus, but "sign with your finger."

When this first went out, it said "without a blank keyboard." I had fumbled the phrase when I first wrote it, and I fixed it on the webpage, but had pasted the original here. I guess I started to write "without the letters on the keys." In summer school, when I was fourteen, I took a typing class and got to 42 words per minute. I'm faster now, but can still type in the dark, without looking at what's on the keys. My current keyboard has the letters a, s and e worn through. They light up from below, at night. Others notice and ask how I can type, but I don't look at the keyboard.

So because of that, I worry about people who aren't "touch typists"—how can they type? Well, turns out they can type on miniature keyboards, with thumbs or index fingers; they can type from phone-number pads; they can type on flat screen pictures of keyboards, just as well as they can on "a real keyboard." My prediction of what they "need" to know how to do is as antiquated as my granny's was of me.