What Is The Opposite Of Online Learning

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What Is The Opposite Of Online Learning

Growing up I got from the TV about home entertainment, a term which was defined as the process of getting the TV set, the expensive set, out from under the couch to the bedroom for a proper viewing experience. Not working was supposed to convey my inability to be “home on the couch.”

Awareness of what that meant at age 4 or 5 was slow in developing. Yet it sent to me a very clear message, one which I took at its face value. If I wasn’t at home, there was something wrong with me. And not home meant television, which was the only safe place to watch it. The morning after viewing Cheers, driving my new white sports car, I was simply too busy to have a meal in the living room. It felt wrong to do something I must’ve realized in the moment was bad for me.

So the next year, when TV broke for daylight savings, the best choice I made was no TV. I went to the library. Instead of a fluffy pillow I tucked my book in my lap while trying to figure out how people read during the darkness. Such was the extent of what I was familiar with. Sure, I could have attempted to figure out how to tune my TV, but that meant spending more time than I liked getting up to turn it off. I read plenty that year, the greatest challenge coming from picking an entertaining and efficient guide to anything Harry Potter related (we had taken one of the books out to read on the run and somehow wound up studying the entire series). I suppose it was not surprising that I met people who looked like I did, which was a much more palatable image than the couch potatoes I was forced to see on the screen.

Now that I’m 45 I have transitioned a bit from that use of my furniture for theater. I have memorized some of the jigsaw puzzles made in my home by my mother or bought at friends’ stores. I now have a phone that I carry around, usually used for a conversation I’m hoping to have with someone I haven’t connected with in months. The ability to be connected in a moment, to communicate with friends easily, has, in fact, helped me to transition from “home on the couch” to “book on the lap.” You don’t necessarily have to be at home in order to participate in that social connection.

I’ve also learned to appreciate the irony that while television is so dominant in the cultural diet of the adult I’ve met, I can access it almost anywhere. Without the side of the couch, no television on, and a yard full of space back there (where I now sit with my books) I have missed a tremendous amount of in-depth programming. And that is, of course, given the demographic of my friends, who at that point were very old and well into retirement.

At first, I mourned that absence of entertainment. But the irony of being more active than I ever imagined I would be led me to those happy days. I don’t think I have ever more connected or enjoyed a sense of community, the strongest of which comes when I know we share a certain experience. I had brought, I think, a sense of loneliness to our house, and this altered it instantly.

Eventually, the adult I became me began to pick up on that very different sense of community, one which we cannot get with communal televisions. But in the substance of the experience itself I’m much more active and much more present. And that, I think, is a good thing.

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Willy Perkinson is an award-winning technologist with work in photojournalism, design, and food media. With his recent work in media and technology he can be seen at many digital meetups and conferences from all over the world. He’s on Instagram at //willyperkinson. Thanks will always.

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