Friday, January 28, 2011
Here's another episode featuring the heartwarming story of Privileged Kids and their extremely expensive Cisco Technology. This one is a bit different, in that for the first time, we actually see kids using the technology to do something at least SOMEWHAT Educational.
But focusing on the educational aspects of Cisco technology- instead of just alluding to it- would be boring, so instead we have the a kid using a joystick to maneuver a camera around at 14,000 feet below sea level while his classmates bleat "go right! Right! Now down! Go Right!" even though it's painfully clear that there's nothing on the screen they are gazing at except blackness.
Fortunately for their teacher, who at this point must be at least a little concerned that her Take the Day off and Let her Kids goof off with the Pricey Piece of Equipment in My Classroom lesson plan might be sinking faster than the camera, is bailed out by the sudden appearance of a glowing example of deep-ocean life. This creature is conveniently luminous and has kid-attracting eyes. Now the teacher has to be thinking "oh god please stay on the screen a long time, we've got 20 minutes left in this class and another long period of Nothing To See will not be tolerated by these kids!"
"What is it?" one kids asks. The marine biologist who I guess is guiding this "lesson" replies "that's a....um, I don't know."
Reality Check time. Cisco is actually trying to sell us on the idea that if you purchase it's glamorized video conferencing equipment you will not only be able to go on "field trips to China" and engage in staring contests with people on the other side of the planet, but you may just discover new life forms? That's almost as unrealistic as a marine biologist admitting that he doesn't know what a new life form is- the correct, realistic response is "That's a Graffer Fish."
Kid: "Wow, that's cool- didn't you say your name was Mr Graffer?"
Marine Biologist: "Yes. I discovered this fish. Just now. Gotta go put it in the books, kids."
The glowing octopus thing then spins away, causing the kids to give an collective "wooooahhh," the teacher to give an appreciative smile, and for the entire class to go back to the Ever So Educational task of maneuvering the camera through the dark.
I can only figure that Cisco was getting bored with the "use our incredibly expensive technology to do really stupid things" ad campaign and decided to throw a bone to those of us who wanted to see what actual EDUCATIONAL value that technology might provide. I'm not sure that kids seeing a glowing octopus for five seconds, being told that the expert they are hooked up with doesn't know what it is, and deciding to call it "Blinky" really cuts it. I can tell you that I'm not comfortable about showing this commercial to the school board in the future and following the presentation with "so you can see why we need this in OUR science lab!"
I CAN tell you that I've had more than enough of the narrator's voice- god it drives me nuts.
Oh, and "Blinky?" That's the best you can do, kid? BLINKY?