I haven’t said much about school this semester. We are only beginning our 5th week, so there hasn’t been much to say. Last week we had a group project to do. That isn’t easy when the members of the group span 12 time zones. Most of them are in the UK, but there are a few of us in North America and several in Asia and Africa. By the time I get all the kids to school and I’m ready to sit down and do school work, it’s around 4pm in the UK.It’s really amazing, when you think about it, how students from many countries on six of the continents are in one class together.
Also this past week, we discussed “digital natives.” What are digital natives you ask? People born since 1993. They know no life without the Internet. The rest of us born prior to 1993 are called “digital immigrants.” An interesting idea, but as I see it, it is not entirely true. The generation I am from (sounds like a bad sci-fi movie) have lived with computers all of our lives. We didn’t get the Internet until we were young adults, but we were the first generation to have personal computers, game consoles, and VCRs.We had an Atari. I never did get very good at those games. The joystick was awkward in my small hand, but that didn’t keep my brother and I from trying to get the moving square (the ball) to hit the moving bars (tennis rackets, I think.)
When I was around 8, we got our first computer – an Apple IIe. Those old things had no memory at all. They didn’t run unless they had a disk in them. Yes, the 5 ¼ floppies. If you turned it on without a disk inside, it made a lot of rude noises. We had a word processing program. It was where I wrote all my plays and my first novel. We also had a couple of great games – Jumpman, Nibbler and Math Blaster.We got our first VCR around that same time. Great fun. It was such a novelty to go down to the shopping center near our home and pick out videos from the brand new home video rental store. This is way before Blockbuster. We recorded TV shows and could watch them whenever we wanted!
Our first cell phone must have weighed about 10 pounds. They weren’t even called cell phones. They were mobile phones and despite their name, they weren’t very mobile. It was too heavy to carry around in your bag and your arm would cramp while trying to talk on it.I think my generation should be called “digital hybrids.” I don’t think of myself as a technological immigrant. I grew up with the stuff. Someday when I’m old, have a purple bouf, and whacking teenagers with a cane, I’ll be able to say, “Back when I was young, you whippersnappers, we didn’t have these smart phones. Our first cell phone was as long as your arm and weighed more than a newborn baby.”
Oh yes, that will be the day!