A Math Teacher’s Guide to Explaining Technology to Your Parents [Math with Bad Drawings]

People sometimes wonder why I go through explaning the “why” to them when all they want to know is the “how”. I do it because they’ll be better off for it; they’ll more easily learn to adapt what they learn to similar issues. Ben Orlin describes the method that I use (more or less) to teach people tech, among other things.

Math with Bad Drawings

This is my second century. I was 13 when it began—young enough to be almost fluent, but old enough that my technological skills retain a quaint 20th-century accent. (For example, I still use email.)

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My parents’ generation, on the other hand, didn’t encounter the 21st century until they were full-grown adults. They’d settled into their habits when this digital tide began rising around them: Facebook, Twitter, viral videos, actual computer viruses, Android, Snapchat, gifs, Reddit…

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And so was born that tragicomedy of 21st-century life: young people trying to explain technology to their parents. It’s frustrating both for the kids (“Why are you so incompetent?!”) and for the parents (“Why do I need this stupid device anyway?!”).

“This is so easy. Why can’t you do it?” vs. “This is so hard. What’s the point?” Now, why does that sound so familiar…?

Oh, that’s right! Because I’m…

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