Nathan Barry wrote an insightful list for wired.com – 100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About. The list shows how fast technology can change. Based on the comments that many people listed for the article, people are sentimental. They do not want to forget some of their favorite technology items from the past, but they realize they are no longer the most effective.
I know I am a young teacher, so it is no surprise that some of the items on the list I do not remember. When I reflect back on what technology I had growing up, these are the items that I had in common with the list and the memory associated with each:
- Blowing the dust out of a NES cartridge in the hopes that it’ll load this time. If this fails, there is the light tapping method on the Nintendo to give it encouragement to work. Ironically, I still have a NES. I find it is a conversation piece and occassionally the mood to play duck hunt still seizes me.
- Newspapers and magazines made from dead trees. There are pictures of me ‘reading’ Time magazine with my dad as a toddler. My perfect Sunday involves relaxing with a physical newspaper in bed with a latte.
- That there was a time before ‘reality TV.’ I miss those days.
- Not knowing exactly what all of your friends are doing and thinking at every moment.
- Carrying on a correspondence with real letters, especially the handwritten kind.
- Having to manually unlock a car door.
- Taking turns picking a radio station, or selecting a tape, for everyone to listen to during a long drive.
- Looking out the window on the same long drives.
- Using a road atlas to get from A to B and getting lost. In my family, getting lost resulted in fun adventures that normally ended with ice cream.
- Writing a check or using cash. Both of these taught me money management. If I had only relied on credit cards, I am not sure I would have the same fiscal responsibility.
- Libraries as a place to get books rather than a place to use the internet. The girls in my family spent hours in the library on a bi-weekly basis. It was cheaper than buying books and much more enriching than movies.
- A physical dictionary — either for spelling or definitions.
These were changes in the last 25 years. Technology is advancing and doubling every two years. What would the list consist of in 5 or 10 years? The items that students and adults today swear they can not live without. Desktop computers? iPods? Jump drives? Smart phones? I think the list of extinction will also have to include websites or online services that people previously relied upon, such as AOL or USAtoday. What does the future hold for Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube? I know Facebook is undergoing a change in popularity. What used to be the connector of the young is now more popular with their parents, which automatically made it less cool. Will people get bored with always knowing what people are doing and thinking?