A picture has been making the internet rounds. It’s of a group of students playing on their cell phones instead of looking at a Rembrandt painting.
I’ll pause long enough for the outrage to set in.
This photo really made the rounds. People were upset and were asking what’s wrong with this “future generation”.
I was probably the first generation to spend my childhood “on the computer”. Actually, funny enough–my friend Michael and I were discussing how “computers” used to be an interest before it was something everyone did.
And on computers, I was able to connect with friends around the world. Most of my friends today, I met on the internet first. And I continue to make new friends, whether it is through this blog, MilePoint, FlyerTalk, or even Twitter (hi, Emily!)
But there seems to be this presupposition that if someone is doing something on their smartphones, it is “goofing around”. In fact, it took me years to convince my parents that I was actually talking with friends, reading about calculus (long story short: I’m a nerd), and figuring out how to program–not wasting my time.
Well, I guess learning C could now be considered waiting my time!
So I’ve been naturally suspicious of this photo.
It turns out that the Rijksmuseum has an app that, among other things, contains guided tours and further information about the works on display. As part of their visit to the museum, the children, who minutes earlier had admired the art and listened attentively to explanations by expert adults, had been instructed to complete an assignment by their school teachers, using, among other things, the museum’s excellent smartphone app.
So, they were learning on their app. Whoever snapped the photo had a specific agenda they wanted to push forward, even though they knew the truth of the situation.
I keep seeing photos like this and hearing from people that they worry that the “new generation” won’t appreciate the wonders of the world.
They do. They are just used to learning in a different (more convenient) method than other generations are.
My niece is staying with me soon. And she wants to do all the historical stuff in DC (which I’m more than okay with!)
And even if someone wanted to spend their time doing something “different” in a museum, who are we to judge them?
I went to the Louvre without seeing the Mona Lisa.
It was too crowded.
But you know–you can always return!