Raise your glass. Here’s to the good old days! Well, of dive training anyway. I remember, with fondness, the day that my instructor used actual slides to teach us the course material. We sat together and watched an actual VHS video. We hiked to school in the snow, uphill, both ways. Oh wait. That wasn’t me. Anyway, the Guru can get pretty nostalgic at times, but there’s one modern development that lays waste to the good old days – the PADI Open Water Diver Touch.
If you’ve been under a rock for a while, you probably haven’t noticed the rise of mobile devices – including a relatively new invention called the tablet. (And, before any of you Newton-owning fanatics get your styluses (or is it styli?) all in a bunch, I’m talking about the rise of mobile computing – not the start of mobile computing on large format devices.) I read somewhere global tablet sales accounted for 48 percent of all personal computer sales last year. Plus, the worldwide tablet market is forecast to grow 47 percent in 2014. That’s a long way from the good ole’ days when people actually read actual newspapers or actually read actual books where you had to – gasp – turn the page yourself. Can you imagine the indignity that came with that versus swiping your finger across a screen? Now, with all of this, it is pretty obvious that tablets are being used on a daily basis to both consume and create media. So, it’s no surprise that dive training has made the jump to the tablet form factor. When you think about it, it seems that technology is in a state of perpetual revolution. It’s laughable to try and guess where we will be in five years, let alone prognosticate the distant, distant future that lies a decade from now.
So, back to diving. The first of what are likely to be many releases on the PADI Library is the Open Water Diver Touch. It’s much more than just the PADI Open Water Diver Manual that you read on your iPad (and Android device down the track). It’s an immersive, interactive and fun learning experience. I’m not talking about just reading text here either. You can certainly do that. But you can also watch videos, quiz yourself (to make sure you’re retaining the information of course) and much more, all from the comfort of your couch, local park bench, coffee house, on board your next flight, or just about anywhere that isn’t traditionally considered a classroom. I’m telling you I wish they had this for all my schooling as a little Guru. But, when you’ve completed knowledge development, you still get to do the fun stuff – get in the water and dive! Honestly, if that ever goes virtual, I’m outta here. Could you even imagine?
I suppose if I really had to force myself to adjust to new technology rather than just complaining about it, I’d be thinking of how this mobile, tablet-based learning appeals to the new breed of future divers. These kids have grown up in a world that has never been without mobile phones. The youngest are now living in a world where they’ve always had tablets. I’m, obviously, very passionate about getting people into the sport of diving that I love so much. And the sport of diving that I probably wax poetic about a bit too much. But what if these people, in the past, had skipped out on diving because they didn’t want to learn in a certain way or couldn’t find the time in their oh-so-busy schedules? That would be such a shame. Now, the PADI Open Water Diver Touch is a great learning option that will help more people experience diving. Speaking of, you know anyone who might be interested in diving now? Hey, they can get the Introduction gratis (i.e. free) just by downloading the PADI Library. Give ’em a little taste of diving. They’ll love it.
So, take a minute to raise your glass to the rise of the machines – the tablets anyway – and the changing face of technology. Although there’s room for everyone at the learning to dive table – and by that I mean that you’re welcome no matter what format of media you use – the tablet revolution truly is here. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
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