Just An Observation: Autumn is upon us

Embracing the newest season and pondering the need for so much technology

Just that quickly, summer seems to have come to an end for Alberta.

With schools finally in operation, the cooler fall temperatures suddenly showed up, along with frost warnings to go alongside the leaves changing into wonderful colours.

Okay sure, there will still be a few days of 20 and slightly above temperatures for the region during the month of September, but the trend is leaning toward 12 to 15 degrees for daytime highs with the low trending close to the average of three degrees above.

Because of that, jackets and sweaters have now become a necessity to wear, or at least have on hand instead of taking up space in a closet. Ice-caps are being replaced by mochas and hot chocolate. Furnaces have been starting with that all too familiar burning dust smell and parents are having to remind children heading off to school about dressing for both the morning weather and the better temperatures in the afternoon.

The weather change, for some, is a sign of dreaded cold and winter snow.

However, for many of us that enjoy autumn, it’s a season filled with brilliant colours (great for photographers like me) and the great sights and sounds of harvest (memories of my young life on the farm).

It is also an excellent time for sports fanatics with crunch time before the playoffs in the Canadian Football League, gearing up for playoff runs in Major League Baseball, the exciting start of local high school and minor football to go along with other fall high school sports such as volleyball and the early days of this country’s national identity — hockey.

That said, the best thing about this particular season for me is that it is somewhat cooler during much of the day. I never could stand the heat very well and these fall days really lend to one of my other favourite habits — drinking tea.

The one other thing I like about fall is the end of construction season in Alberta.

Phoning it in

Being in this industry, one is forced to deal with the ever growing — and frustrating — depth of technology that needs to be used in taking, producing and publishing the articles and photographs that make up the media these days.

From cellphones and cameras to laptops and desktop computers, along with other recording devices, and the need to be ‘connected’, there is so much to know just to get the job done even before you start.

For some time, schools have been wanting students to use ‘devices’ for class work. While I applaud the fact that education is helping prepare kids for this new normal in the workplace, the problem is all of this technology is creating a population that has no fallback option for when it fails.

There is a segment of kids and young adults out there that struggle to print — worse yet, not know cursive writing — on paper when it becomes necessary. They feel out of their element when an electronic device or computer isn’t available to use.

It also can create inequity among students when teachers have a device ‘requirement’ for their class. Making the family of a student have to purchase a costly device they may not be able to afford is certainly one circumstance of a policy such as this.

However, another such inequitable dilemma comes when a family has ‘chosen’ — for economic or other reasons — to not have these types of electronics.

Such a request to ‘choose’ only online resources simply puts up a barrier that some students can’t climb over and forces them to either work harder in class to keep up or spend more time doing work at home — be it on a computer, which could be heavily used by the parents and other siblings, or through written work on printouts from the school.

While technology can be wonderful and efficient, it can also be out of reach and overwhelming for others.

But that is…just an observation.

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