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Remembering Yesterday

September 8, 2010 - Jane Whitmore

Technology: a technical method of achieving a practical purpose...according to Webster’s
Technology: if you don’t keep up, you can consider yourself “dated”...according to Grammy
I ran across a piece on the internet the other day that made me think of my nine-year-old grandson. He and I were taking pictures with my 35mm camera. After the first shot, he wanted to see the image on the back of the camera. You know, that instant gratification thing. Well we were using film and there was no image to see. He had only seen or taken pictures with a digital camera.
This piece on the internet talked about students entering college this fall. For them, e-mail is too slow, phones have never had cords, and the computers they played with as kids are now in museums.
The Class of 2014 thinks of Clint Eastwood more as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry urging punks to “go ahead, make my day.” Few incoming freshmen know how to write in cursive or have ever worn a wristwatch.
Each year, two officials at Beloit College, a private school of about 1,400 students, compiles the Beloit College Mindset List. Purpose of the list is to remind teachers that cultural references familiar to them might draw blank stares from college freshmen born mostly in 1992.
Remember when Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Dan Quayle or Rodney King were in the news??These kids don’t.
Ever worry about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.??During these students’ lives, Russians and Americans have always been living together in outer space.
Referencing the item about Clint Eastwood, a number of incoming freshmen said they were familiar with Eastwood’s work as an actor even if they hadn’t seen his films.
Another student disagreed that few students know how to write in cursive, and the suggestion that this generation seldom if ever uses snail mail. She said “snail mail’s kind of fun” and writes letters to family and friends in cursive.
So how does technology impact your life?
Hours - or days - without my cell phone is no big deal. For many, including my teenage granddaughters, the cell phone is their lifeline...and their alarm clock. They talk and text and surf the net. They would be lost without their phones.
Remember your first VCR? It was easier for me to say to my son, “Here, you do it.” It all seemed too complicated, but I learned. And now we are in the digital age.
My grandmother once asked me what I was reading. She wanted to know so she could “keep up” with my generation. My mother was much the same. She memorized the names of the Supreme Court Justices, just in case it came up in conversation with her grandchildren.
I don’t pretend to know about all the new electronic devices. It still boggles my mind. But you have to be aware of what’s going on “out there” to be in touch with the kids.
--Jane Whitmore


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