“Back In My Day”: Before Technology Was Technology

Our lecture this week was very eye opening. I could not believe the things that were considered to be huge technological advances…. then again it was “back in my day” for someone out there.

The chalkboard was considered a type of technology (and Alec says it still is, so I guess I will believe it). The reason I was so shocked about it being described as technology was because the quotation he selected made it sound like the next big thing. I guess it was the 1840s, so you have to give them some credit there. (Side note – I nearly died laughing when he said that coloured chalk was like Chalkboard 2.0) I guess since I have grown up with chalkboards, now white boards with markers (hey, it’s Chalkboard 3.0!), in every classroom that I’ve ever seen, both real and from the movies, I kind of took it for granted as part of the classroom setting. It seems more like a permanent fixture like desks than technology.

The other piece of technology from the lecture that I really enjoyed seeing was the Encarta disc collection. I remember when my parents bought it. My dad was so excited and really wanted to help us with our school projects. He would use any excuse to put in the discs and do some research. The Encarta discs were basically encyclopaedias on CD-ROM format. I remember spending hours looking up random stuff and watching the timelines. Pretty soon the Internet was more accessible and we stopped using them, although we still have them! These discs are so old that I would not be surprised if new computers did not support the files anymore.

I really liked the comparison between the picture of the group glued to their devices while on a subway versus the photo of the people reading newspapers on the train. The comparison is meant to show that people are no less anti-social nowadays than they were before cellphones came out. However, I have to point out that devices make information and apps right at our fingertips all of the time. ALL. OF. THE. TIME. Which means that if you receive emails for work or school related contacts, you make never “time out” from the working mindset. Every time the phone dings or vibrates to signal a new notification there is an immediate impulse to check it. Now there are so many ways to be entertained from our devices – we can read “books,” watch videos, play games or surf social media sites. I do this all of the time too. But we all have that one friend (or more) who never gets off the device when you are in their presence. Those kind of interactions are what makes me feel like having so much at your fingertips is not a good thing. I guess it is all up to the individual user and how they use their devices.

In all, it was a good lecture, but I still can’t get over the wonder of the chalkboard!

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