Old School vs New School

I don’t believe that you have had to grow up with a computer to be digitally native although a decade ago you could argue that point.  Now you can ignore age but define different levels of being tech savvy.  Those that grew up with the Internet, such as Millennials, have a different outlook but doesn’t each generation?

What old school ways should we be holding on to?  If you are past 50, your beliefs around this are going to be different than someone who is 35 or even 20.  I have been thinking about this after going to an event about 60 miles out of the city.

Some of the women at my table were teachers from their mid-40’s to late 50’s.  They were lamenting that cursive writing is no longer taught in school and that the kids handwriting is unreadable.  That begets the question, should cursive writing still be taught in school?  Not surprising that the answer is yes because it is a key component to the development of motor skills.  The curriculum is constantly retooled as things change as educators point to data such as the importance of arts and recess.  Movement tasks are incredibly important to connect the dots to other skills.

Yet the one thing that was upsetting to one of the women at my table is if cursive writing is kept out of the curriculum then how would these kids be able to sign their checks?  I pointed out that there won’t be any checks.  Clearly, she was not living in the same world that I am living in.  And that conversation has stuck with me.  The digital divide, the technology divide, the forward thinkers who continue to move forward as they get older, the people that don’t really change much after their 20’s when it comes to new music or innovation, etc.  It has been gnawing at me.

I live in the new school world more than the old school world.  It is good to get out of the echo-chamber that I live in.  Not sure I want to do it often but that short trip and the conversations had definitely opened my eyes up to the need to get out of your comfort zone once in awhile.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Anne Libby

    I’ve been in a couple of upscale suburban shopping malls lately, and each time have thought of some of your posts here…

  2. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I’m not an expert in child development, but it seems like we could just let kids who want to learn cursive do so. While others could dive more into, say, *art* or shop or food science to develop their fine motor skills.The only old school things worth perpetuating are (i) spelling school “skool,” (ii) questioning authority, and (iii) questioning popular opinion. Maybe just questioning things. That’s what my Old Skool taught me, anyway ;-)Never become someone who has to die in order for progress to be made.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Never become someone who has to die in order for progress to be made.For sure!!

  3. Bridget Goodbody

    This is a super important point and it gnaws at me, too. The biggest thing that always surprises me is how much people of all ages think they know about digital simply because they use technology all day long – especially when they’re millennials and I assume they know more than I do (at 55) and I’m teaching them how to use, say, Slack.

    1. Gotham Gal


  4. PhilipSugar

    You need to get out further. Here are the last four receipts I received. Notice, four different places. If you are not sure who I am look me up or ask Fred, I travel 250k miles a year, sold, three technology business, but thinking that people are not going to write checks……..or receipts? Same as saying regular mail is dead.And now for an advertisement. Here is a business I helped my daughter set up in our town where there are so many weddings. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

    1. Gotham Gal

      Ha. Regular mail will eventually be dead. ?

      1. PhilipSugar

        Maybe, but Calligraphy which she does is not. That picture didn’t render well.

    2. LE

      My sister (the artist) did calligraphy when she was younger.Your daughter could easily get a reseller account at an invitation printer. The key is not giving people to many choices and narrowing things down for them ‘don’t make me think’ strategy. Then she gives customers a turnkey solution including the calligraphy. Also the cards which I am sure she does on the seating table.

  5. LE

    Let me make an important point here. My wife never gets tired of me telling her she is beautiful. I am sure you never get tired of Fred telling you nice things.Postal mail? I get checks by postal mail for payment and always have. And I will never ever get tired of getting a printed check. In fact I prefer it to an electronic transfer. I get a buzz every time I get a check and it doesn’t even matter the amount on the check. Really. Small or large I get a kick out of the checks that I receive for payment. I even save the envelopes they come in if they have logos. In some cases (attached) I have even got handwritten notes, pre-printed notes or notes by typewriter. I have copies which I keep of really large checks. I have a check from my mom which, by accident, she wrote out with the last name “Einstein” instead of my actual last name. Wow I am glad that I got that. I never knew. I think that was a Freudian slip of sorts.Who pays by check? Customers, clients, tenants paying rent (I am talking about businesses say a Physician office that have EMR systems).The attachment below came clipped to the check sent for payment from the Irish Ambassador to the United Nations. The translation appears to be ‘with good morning’…. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  6. Susan Rubinsky

    My son is 21 and he never learned cursive writing. It was already gone from the curriculum. He spent hours and hours of his own time practicing how to sign his name in cursive. I’m sure that anyone who wants to learn cursive will do the same. Steve Jobs was inspired by calligraphy to bring better design to computing. It’s all holistic.True, there are a lot of people of certain generations who don’t want to learn new things — maybe it’s too alien or hard or whatever — but I know just as many who do want to learn. It’s all about a desire to be relevant. Some people don’t want to be relevant or don’t believe technology is relevant. How do we embrace those people so we all learn from each other?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Good question. How do we embrace each other

  7. nbnyc

    I still write hand written notes all the time. Thank you, hello, I’m sorry, condolence, nice to see you. I enjoy writing them. I love picking the cards, the feel of the paper stock, picking cool stamps, the act of putting the envelope in the mail box. The recipients seem to be appreciative – they know I took time and effort to communicate with them. It means something more than an email. I always get a bump in mood when I see a handwritten note in my mailbox. I don’t usually get excited about an email note in the same way. I always encourage my step-kids to write handwritten notes. Technology can be good. But not sure all “old school” acts should or will die.

    1. Gotham Gal

      it is absolutely a nice touch to get a hand written note.

  8. pointsnfigures

    Yet, current research shows if you type something versus write something, you remember better by writing. https://www.theatlantic.com