Technology in the formative years

Essential Question:  How does the culture of your current teaching environment differ from the learning environment you experienced as a student?

I consider myself and my generation to be the beginning of the Net Generation.  We knew of a time without computers and the internet, yet we still grew up with the technology that redefined our culture.  When I was growing up, technology and gadgets were purposed mostly as toys where as now days, tech is considered indispensible tools.  I came across this nice compilation of some of the gadgets I grew up with, but to give some background perspective (and just so we know, TIGER was really busy in the 90’s!):  http://mashable.com/2012/10/03/90s-high-tech-gadgets/#_ .

My public school elementary days were limited as far as technology.  We had one computer in the classroom that the entire class rotated through.  I remember one program in the 2nd grade that allowed us to write a one sentence “story” and add some two-dimensional, boxy pictures with it.  That was amazingly high tech!  Everyone want to use the computer!  My intermediate grades were spent in a private school, where the funding for technology was extremely limited, or non-existent.  However, at that point my mother had a high-tech Brother typewriter that she allowed me to use to write stories.  I remember I wrote an entire 50 page novel using 2” x ½” window for a screen.  Editing was a real pain!  A couple of years later, our family invested in our first PC.  It was incredible!  The only programs we had were Encyclopedia Britannica, “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”, and “Oregon Trail,” but my brothers and I loved it.  Eventually we acquired typing programs, such as “Mario Typing” because my mother knew that we were going to need typing skills when we entered the work force.

When I entered high school, computer skills was a mandatory class for all freshmen.  I don’t know if it still is.  But every morning for a semester I would assemble with fellow students into the computer lab and type out the skills I had already been working on at home.  Some of the same typing programs.  Not that I necessarily found it boring, because I loved any excuse to use a computer.  I wasn’t one of the kids who would mess with the computer specs, Lord knows I didn’t know how, but I just loved typing.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t actually use the internet until my freshman year of college.  Although, I don’t really know why I consider that embarrassing.  I started school in 2000.  My family didn’t really have any need for the internet.  We were content being self-contained in our island life.  I still remember how limited the internet looked when I looked at that first search page, but then realized that I could look up anything and go anywhere!  It’s a bit of a fond memory, because that’s when I bought my first sword for my collection, and I felt pretty cool.

So in comparison, when I was growing up and developing as a student, technology and gadgets were a luxury—a luxury we could make do without.  However, technology is ingrained into everyday life of the modern student.  How lost are people when they misplace their phone?  Any student who hasn’t been or seen the internet at a young age is considered unique, in an unfortunate, “What rock have you been living under?” kind of way.  The modern student also knows more about the quality of technology than most teachers.  Poor teachers, who finally get a technology tool to aide them in their classrooms, and risk it being judged and critiqued by the students who probably have some better equivalent at home.  It’s a crazy, fast-trending world out there.  Is it any wonder that technology is such an intimidating aspect of education?

In closing, I only WISH I can access to the type of technology they claim is in the classroom in the 00’s!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFwWWsz_X9s

References

Buck, S. (2012). 16 high-tech 90’s gadgets that are pretty lame if you think about it.  Accessed at http://mashable.com/2012/10/03/90s-high-tech-gadgets/#_

SMARTEduMEA. (2011). The history of technology in education. Accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFwWWsz_X9s

 

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