Saturday, November 10, 2012

An Excuse and Technology

I know that I have failed in writing an entry every day; however, in order to make sure that the Internet was going to work at the new house, I was transporting my laptop back and forth.  I have a rather unhandy docking station here, so I was essentially disconnected for awhile.  Now I’m back.

An early morning visit to one of my granddaughters yesterday morning while she was in a rush to finish some forgotten homework caused me to reflect on education and technology.  She was using a Sharpie to define some items on a turkey costume.  That’s a costume FOR a turkey—a Thanksgiving disguise—not a costume as a turkey.  Her turkey was disguised as a dog.  Her combination of crayon and Sharpie and construction paper led me to contemplate technology in education.  (It was a boring drive home last night—nothing but football on the radio and I had forgotten my audio book.)  By the time I retired, “technology” referred to Smart Boards, digital projectors, and portable computer labs with a desktop for every student.  When I began teaching, “technology” was an overhead and a 16mm sound projector.

cartridge pen

However, when I was an elementary student, technology took different forms.  We still had some desks that had inkwells—no, we didn’t use them, but they were there—but we were required to learn to write with fountain pens.  Most of us used cartridge pens, but a brave few kept an ink bottles in their desks.  Fourth graders were recognizable by the ink-stained fingers.  Ball points were just coming into use, but the product was not really expected to last.  In fact, I continued to use a pen even after I went to college because I liked the physical act of writing with one.  Finally, however, I gave in to ballpoint convenience. 

Now, what does this have to do with my granddaughter’s turkey?  Two items—When I was a child, primary school gluing involved white glass jars of paste with a brush or the glass bottles of clear yellow mucilage (lovely word, isn’t it?) with a rubber slitted tip that you pressed down.  Either bottle was quite capable of breaking in someone’s desk and making a mess.  When Elmer’s Glue hit the market, it was a big improvement! 


Yesterday, however, my granddaughter was using a non-messy glue stick!

Secondly, I am relatively sure that I was in about sixth grade when felt tip markers hit the school scene, at least locally.  I think that Marksalot was the first brand.  I remember staying after school for some committee that required posters, which formerly had to be drawn on poster board with pencil and colored with crayon, and having Mrs. Adams hand us the new product which drew marvelous BRIGHT and easy-to-read pictures and letters!  Now we have Sharpies and all sorts of tip designs and washable and permanent and disappearing.


Deb said...

And the white paste that some kids ate! Slide rules were once a part of upper math classes, and my father always had one in his pocket (he wasw an engineer). I had to buy a calculator for a finance class in college - a Texas Instruments model for $75. A calculator that can do many more advanced math functions can be now be had for just a couple of dollars. And duplicating materials has changed during my teaching career -- from mimeographs and dittos, and carbon copies, to pushing a button on my computer in my classroom and having my copies print down the hall on the copier.

Deborah said...

I still have one of those fountain pens.

Do you remember the mimeograph machine that made purple copies?

Panhandle Jane said...

Oh, yes. The one at my high school was hand cranked, but when I started teaching, we had one that was electric. Do you remember how good the copies smelled?

Deb said...

I loved the smell of the copies! And I loved my fountain pen!