Echoes Of Change by Michael Ntallas
  • Echoes Of Change

Echoes Of Change

Cause You May Never Get Another

The year is 1987. It is a sunny, Sunday morning. You are 12 years old. The breeze invades peacefully through your 2nd floor bedroom window, playfully taking over the sun warming the bed. No school, no work, no problems. No fuzz. Nothing stands in the way of your easy-going, adventurous, pure-fun day. No enlightened screens to buzz, and numb your mind as soon as you open your eyes, no notifications to count desperately, no hungry-for-more followers. Keeping it simple. Some bread with peanut butter, blue jeans, a rockin’ t-shirt, and you’re off to find the gang. The old ways.

Just before you exit your room, you see him, and he makes your day again. Dee Snider on the wall calling you to “Be Cruel To Your School”. You offer him your purest smile, and a promise that you’ll always be. The smile’s gone, as soon as the thought of Ms. Williams yelling at you “What a waste of oxygen you are!”, and asking you “How can you have any pudding?!”, attacks your brain and, just for a few seconds, tries to mess with you. You might be just a kid, but you know damn well, not to let anyone grind you down. It is the day of the dog; your day. Everything’s real, everything’s possible, everything’s beautiful. Live forever, strong as steel. Off to Sunday adventures.

Changes

A lot has changed since. Everything almost. To consider the extend of the progress, within a few years, the length of the, seemingly endless, domino; rather impressive.

We often think of the previous decades, before technology invaded our very existence, as the years of innocence. Truth be told, never was there such a thing; times come and go, and their very core is, more or less, the same. It is the ways that differ. Ways that can either harm, or offer valuable resources towards evolution.

And let it be written, the ways have radically changed. 20 years ago, we would laugh and mock the person who would dare to give us a picture of today’s society. Everything going through our all-knowing, infinite-wisdom screens, with us absorbing so much information, in such little time, that when we turn them off, we barely remember who we are. We fall in love through a screen, often swiping off many people in a matter of seconds, until we find the right one. We make friends online, thousands of them haven’t we got all? New friends every day, all with such great lives, interests, moments. A friend in need, is a friend indeed of course, and our online friends shall be there for us, when we desperately need our dose of reassurance. Nothing wrong with that, is there? So many applications to communicate, with so many options, that people barely have to talk anymore. Ughhh. What a relief.

We cook online, we listen to music online – well hell, all music is online nowadays – heroes rise and fall in a matter of days, satisfying the, desperate for drama, crowd. More.

Hold you horses there partner. Do not get fooled, or overwhelmed, by such behaviors and phenomena. Technology is not the devil. It certainly can be, but it did not make an entrance waving its digital horns. Technology is a mean, a tool to open paths. It is completely up to the operator, which one shall be opened.

Half-Full Glasses

The digitalization of society, indeed brought a massive change on how we act and think, the way we do things. It might revealed a rich menu of pathologic behaviors, but it also changed and keeps changing our lives towards the best. We come together with people that we never would otherwise, next-door or at the edge of the world, and music, movies, and books, so many exciting adventures, are in the palm of our hands in a matter of seconds, wherever we are, whenever we are. Communication has gotten much easier, faster, and cheaper. Thus, giving access to all.

Um, right, so, if you have a yellow marker next to you, yes, the one you mark important stuff with, now is the time to use it. That is the keyword people, the gist of the whole thing, the one to be highlighted and referenced, again and again. Access. Because technology, no matter its negatives when used wrong, introduced the concept of free, universal, inclusive, access to all. And yes, it is true, that certain divides appear due to the very nature of technology, but even those, are fought through technological progress. There is nothing more inclusive, acceptive, and free, than a world made by all, for all.

Flibbertigibbet is not a nickname we would particularly like to carry on our backs, so we’ll straight away speak the words.

The Five Points

Let us separate the main aspects of the Digital World, into 5 categories:

 

Communication

Communication means life, new experiences, evolution. It is probably the main aspect of technology, what each and every one of us does every single day. From the standard apps, used to communicate with friends and relatives, or meet new people, via texting, calls, instant video calls, and file sharing, to much more complex applications and platforms, used in business, making teams work like a Swiss clock. The majority is free for all, making communication at any time, any place, through any means, a polymorphous experience, unimaginable during the past decades.

News – Information

Now that is a big one. Maybe bigger than we can imagine. Before the internet, and the widespread use of its services, information of the public was a matter of newspapers and the TV. This has changed so much, so fast, in so many ways, that today we are witnessing a plethora of news centers, famous, pre-existing that turned digital, even independent. It is a matter of a few seconds before all major events, are known across the globe, to every person that has access online. The amazing fact, however, is not just getting news across fast; it is the fact that people that would otherwise not have access to information at all, it being hidden from them, or even be lied to, can now choose from several news centers, in order to inform themselves. That is serious change.

Entertainment

Easy this one, familiar to all. You are back home, on a hard day’s night, that you’ve been working like a dog. In the palm of your hands, you have yourself your favorite bands, numerous movies, documentaries, and entertainment portals to go through. Lovers of the past, will stick to the good old vinyl, which makes for such an amazing atmosphere; why not have both options though, especially when digital entertainment offers access to so many people around the world?

Everyday Life

Certainly, everyday life includes all the above, and many more. If we are to examine it, however, from a more practical perspective, we understand the massive change that has been conducted. First and foremost, e-government services, allowing users to carry out the applications, paperwork, or legal responsibilities in a matter of minutes, from the comfort of their own personal space. No need to fuzz around public services, for hours and hours, testing the limits of their patience. Find your way through the whole world, by downloading the digitally carved maps. Search for information on-line, from thousands of years ago, until today, in a matter of minutes. The list goes on and on, to form a massive network of services and information, that can be accessed by everyone, everywhere.

Education

Here is where things take an amazing turn. A turn full of colors and light, where possibilities are infinite. Education has been presented with monstrous challenges during the last years. Situations that nobody expected, nobody was ready for. It felt like a shock, seeing schools, universities, and educational centers of any kind, closing down for long months, unable to face the fight. Apart from the challenges related to Covid however, education finds itself in a position where it redefines every single thing. Educational practices, learning and teaching methodologies, digital tools and platforms, distant and traditional ways, and many more. The digitalization of Education opens paths for great innovations, such as video-game based learning, Virtual Reality, and online educational programs, that apply both on educators and students alike.

The possibilities are endless. Imagine school students at a remote school, not being able to travel abroad, being able to explore and wander among the biggest museums of the world, through a pair of VR goggles. Primary school students, learning about the concepts of health, exercise, hygiene, and a healthy diet, via educational video games, not being bored or bothered by ineffective traditional methods of teaching. Teachers and educators upgrading their educational skills and competences through on-line platforms, designed especially for them. There is no limit, no holding-back. The beginning has been made, and a wonderful world of education and knowledge is forming, not only by developing digital tools and platforms, but by deeply redefining education itself .

Opportunities

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, global issues, from the early days of human kind, until today, is inequalities. Let us not use fancy words, and magic descriptions here. Simply put, some people have more than others, thus, can more than others. Would it be access to education, therefore, to the job market with better conditions, or related to vulnerable groups such us immigrants, elders, disabled people, or just people that life did not always treat them fair, the result is the same. A vast amount of our fellow citizens, did not have the same opportunities with others. Until now.

The “New Wave” of digital education and training, offers digital training programs, platforms, and practical courses related to the improvement of skills and competencies, required in the job market. It is magical to think that a person that did not have the chance to develop their skills in the past, thus not enjoying the same benefits as others, is now able to enter the job market with a brand new and shiny arsenal. Online, free, inclusive.

What Lays Ahead

The tip of the iceberg folks. Not even that, if we want to be honest. What we are examining here is just the dawn of the new. A dawn that includes and respects everyone, regardless of what makes us different. We stand as a whole, we evolve as one. Up to the challenges that lurk ahead of us, we are developing a world with space for all.

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