The Dark Ages of Tech

John Clementson is the Director of Academic Outreach and Development at Learner’s Edge.  He lives in the country, and wakes up to deer and birds every morning (I am extremely jealous!).  He is also “Papa” to four beautiful, awesome, sweet, and adorable grandchildren.  He enjoys making heirloom furniture in his woodworking shop and has been known to barefoot waterski….but can’t figure out why his wetsuit keeps getting smaller every year.

I didn’t invent the Internet!

I am old enough, however, to remember going to an information session at the college where I taught… to learn about Mosaic…one of the first graphical user interface browsers.
Needless to say, my world changed that day.   A well-respected chemist on our campus showed us how we could actually search for information that might even include
spectacular images or illustrations of the searched topic.  Until that time, we could find text-based research articles through such online library catalogs as Worldcat… nothing
compared to what I saw through the lens of Mosaic that day in the early 90s.

I’ve always considered myself a technology scout, an early-adopter, not just a pioneer or a tech settler…but a trailblazer.  In the mid-80s,  I purchased an Apple IIe with 1MB of memory.  My current computer has 4,096 times more memory than that blessed Apple IIe.

My children, now in their late 20s grew up “playing” such primitive computer learning games as Oregon Trail, Number Munchers, and Word Munchers.  I wrote my doctoral dissertation on 3.5” floppy disks.  My first college classes asked students to develop electronic portfolios by writing HTML code.  Believing in the power of the technology to
impact learning, together with others, in the late 90s , I brought hundreds of K-12 teachers together on an annual basis to share their uses of technology with each other in a summer
TechCamp.  Yes, many deadly PowerPoint presentations were spawned in those days.

One of my favorite pictures is that of my young daughter adeptly operating a computer mouse.  Today, I see my three-year old grandson skillfully using his mother’s iPhone.  Recently, I watched with amazement the viral video of a toddler trying to make a paper magazine work like an iPad.  We Skype with our four grandchildren, we marvel at the pictures and videos of them we receive on our phones or on Facebook.

Stop!  Stop!   I may be getting older, out-of-step,  or becoming a technology luddite.  But do I really need to read on Facebook about “my boyfriend’s underarm hair was stuck
to my deodorant?”   Do I really need to see the words “awesome, too cute,  sweeeeet, adorable,  or priceless” used to describe what appears to be the ordinary?  Not me…unless these are pictures of my grandchildren. Then, I too look for the instant gratification and affirmation that comes from someone responding to my posts.

I’m going outside now to play in the leaves with my grandson.  We are going to sit in his wagon and imagine we are trailblazers going across the prairie to that imaginary place called Oregon.  Oh, I almost forgot… I better bring my iPhone so I can take pictures of us playing outside…that I will then post to Facebook.

After all, he is adorable.

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