Monday, June 1, 2009

Couldn't Compute

I remember sitting in my freshman General Business class and seeing my first computer. Mr. Smith was showing us a video. (Nope, he was showing us a reel to reel film.) The computer in the film was the size of a room, and men were programming it by sliding around on ladders inserting punch cards. "One day there will be a computer in every home," the announcer told a snickering bunch of 14 year olds. Yeah right. We were trying to imagine our parents having to build on an extra room to house a computer. No way was that ever happening! That would have been the fall of 1971.

A short 15 years later, I would have a computer in my classroom. I was afraid to touch anything for fear of blowing the thing up. (I didn't dare touch a button! Ah, how quickly that would change.) All of my writings were stored on floppy disks that really were floppy. This computer was used solely as a word processor. Email was about three years away.

We've had a home computer for at least 15 years now. I couldn't live without email, facebook, and blogs. At school, all of my grades are kept on my computer. Parents and students are able to access a kid's grade online as soon as I enter them in the electronic grade book. (I still keep a paper grade book as back up. One too many computer crashes at our school where teachers have had to ask the students to "estimate" their grade prior to the crash! Yeah right! Like every kid was going to honest on that one!)
Today, I literally can't function without a computer. And yesterday's purchase (that sweet little laptop) has opened up even more technology that I have never used before. I have spent the better part of two days playing with my photos in Picasa. (No clue what I am doing, but it sure is fun!) And the newest play function for me: Skype! My daughters and I have been skyping (is that a word?) each other. We get to see how lovely we look first thing in the morning. Of course, the Mr. thinks the best part is that it is free. (Well, if you include the price of the laptop--not really, but let's let him think what he wants!) It kind of reminds me of the picture phones that they kept telling us would be everywhere one day.

Welcome to one day! I think the future that Mr. Smith was trying to tell us about has arrived. And to think we hardly even noticed!

10 comments:

Debbie said...

I was the same way when I first started using computers. I was afraid I would blow something up. I still have that fear from time to time. People under the age of 30 can't comprehend the fact that there was a time that some form of computer usage was not taught in school. I started using computers on the job in 1987. They are the biggest part of my bookkeeping job. I've had a computer in my home since 1995. However, I didn't have the internet hooked up until 5 years ago. I'm still on Dial-up internet because I'm waiting for a good reason to pay the extra price for high speed internet. A lot of it is still a learning process for me. But I have learned to do more with them than just work.

Gayle said...

That is very true! I remember the days of mimeograph machines and carbon paper and no computers! My kids can't imagine those computer-less days! Thank you for joining Monday Memories! (Mr Linky is back up and working again. I'll add your post!)

2Thinks said...

Look at all the blog time you are getting in now that school is out! Yipee! Love your new laptop. Want one.

I used to wonder what it would be that I would be referring to when I said to my grandchildren one day, "in the olden days, we...." The list is piling up now. We used to play round, vinyl disks with ridges, called records, kids and we used to put our finger in a little dial and turn it all the way clockwise and let it rewind itself back 7 times,once for each number, then we'd wait for the ringing and an answer- that was a telephone, kids and we used to have these wooden sticks painted yellow that had a long, thin piece of lead inside and a rubber cap on top. We'd sharpen them up, these were called pencils kids. We would write on paper with lines and fold up the paper and put it in a white folded up thin, paper package called an envelope- this was a letter, kids and we'd run to a metal box with a metal flag that could be put up and down to see if someone sent us a letter, kids. Then we'd read the letter, yep, the characters on the paper were called letters and put together made words and these had meaning, kids...oops, I'm jumping way ahead- let's hope we don't ever get to the point where we no longer know what reading is, eh?
Heidi

maya | springtree road said...

i remember learning to type on a manual typewriter. there were two computers in the back of the classroom that hardly anyone ever touched.

now i'd be lost without mine (feels that way, anyhow). it's like having the best encyclopedia in the world at your fingertips.

elk said...

it is amazing to see the technology and how far we have come...congrats on your laptop, I know that you will enjoy it...love your mosaic header!

Puna said...

Mrs. E, it's a beautiful computer! I have a PC at home and a Mac at work. I always think it's unfair that teachers would assign kids with homework that is so reliant on the computer. Some kids just don't have that luxury at home. In any case, I'm a geek, I lead the IT team at my church and I'm always impressed with their talent and intellect. I can't keep up! Enjoy it...

Mrs. E said...

Gayle, Heidi & Debbie--I've already thought of many other technologies that have changed since my HS years. Future posts?
Maya- I am so glad the days of manual typewriters are done. (They kept switching us back & forth between those and electric. I was never the same after the first switch!)
Puna- In our HS, if we can't give them computer time in class, then we really can't require it of them at home. I have a classroom blog but they have to be able to access on computer in my room before school if they want. Tt is mainly for students and parents with internet access. Our little public library has free computer/internet access, too. BUT... I still post all the info. that is on my blog in my room, too. Otherwise, the gap broadens between the haves and the have nots. I refuse to be part of making that gap wider.

2Thinks said...

Yes, future posts. Sorry I got so carried away and actually almost wrote a post for a comment up there. Maybe I should get back home and write my posts on my own blog. Again, sorry. Also thanks for following me such that it shows up in your sidebar like that. I love that.
Heidi

Shawna said...

Oh man, I'm part of the tech age but I definitely don't know how to skype yet! I need to get on that for the study abroad trip because I'm going to miss seeing my family dearly ;'(

PS, nice laptop :)

Ragamuffin Gal said...

You nailed it! I felt like I was right there experiencing the same feelings and memories. What a way with words you have Mrs. E. I like your new laptop ~ (hey! no need for an extra room now!)