I know I am going to sound like an “old guy” here but I seem to remember the same thing happened as shown by Mr. Stahler’s cartoon above with math. I was in college when the first calculators were invented so I remember the hours and hours I spent in my grade school days learning multiplication and long division. Although I was somewhat proficient at it I was never that keen on math so memorizing the multiplication tables was not a favorite thing for me but I did learn them. My teacher drilled me back and forth on them.
When I went to college to get an engineering degree the math got quite a bit harder. It could not be done in your head anymore so I purchased my trusty slide rule. This was a bamboo stick with a sliding center rail with numbers all over it that somehow gave answers to things like logarithms and such. As I was about to graduate the calculator was born. The original one could only do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It would be a few years before my trusty slide rule was replaced. I remember the furor this little device caused in the school system. Teachers seemed to be frustrated that a kid now had something that eliminated the need for all that memorization. In fact for the first decade or so of its existence they were banned from the classroom during testing times. It would be years before they found common acceptance among elementary school teachers.
Of course spelling was the next elementary school chore that was tackled by the techie crowd. The first spelling checkers were available soon after the Macintosh and PCs were invented. They were not as sophisticated as they are now but they did catch the grossest errors. Of course now they seem to be able to correct just about any word you type and many go on to look at syntax and sentence structure and give their recommendations in that area.
With the recent introduction of the iPhone 4S we have an app called Siri. It seems you can ask Siri just about any question and it will come up with an answer. I would not be at all surprised that Siri could actually do what is shown in this cartoon! That brings up another difficulty for the education crowd. What will they teach Junior now that he seems to have all the answers available to him via these gadgets? Is there anything that he needs to just keep in his head? Of course there are all kinds of answers to that question but I will leave that for future posts or maybe some of your comments.