Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Slice of Life Tuesday- Old People and Technology

At Christmas in 1978, my father hooked our first Radio Shack TRS-80 computer up to our television. I vaguely remember there being a tape deck to run it, and I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to program it to play my band music.

In the fall of 1986, I took a computer programming course at the University of Cincinnati and got a B- without ever touching a computer, because all of our exams were hand written in blue books. We just had to successfully guess the results of BASIC programming.

In 1991, I took home an Apple MacIntosh Classic II from the school where I taught for the summer so I could write a text book for the 6th grade Latin class. I found my killer app in the spreadsheet that automatically alphabetized the glossary in English and then could alphabetize using the Latin words in seconds.

When I started my Master of Library and Information Science degree in 1995, we had to log onto the Internet. None of us knew what that was. I bought a MacIntosh Performa 5200, hooked up my modem, signed up for the Columbus Freenet, and opened the door to the world of NONGRAPHIC Internet.

We won't even talk about my success with HTML and JavaScript and the fact that I created the school web site and got mentioned in the newspaper before the district Harrison Bergeroned everything.

When the Freenet closed in 2005, we had moved beyond Apple computers because we had gotten a digital camera and my school used Microsoft products. We had dial up access until 2010. Currently, I have WiFi and a 2011 HP laptop. No smart phone, since I am funding both of my daughters'.

The point? It's not that old people don't GET technology, we've just seen so many versions of it. Do I save my data on punch cards, 5" floppies, 3.5" floppies, flash drives, or the cloud? A lot of us REALLY liked 3.5" floppies. They came in pretty colors.

When I had to take the Google Level 1 Certified Educator exam in order remain my building's tech person, I spent a lot of time studying for it. This, of course, was after months of poring over Schoology information only to find out the test consisted of a check box for "I read and understood this information". I must have gone through the 13 Google lessons about 7 times each. First, one a day, then a couple a day, then three days in a row leading up to the test doing all of the modules and taking all of the tests.

Then I couldn't log on to the site to take the test, dissolved in tears, and had to wait until our very lovely tech trainer could help me. At which point there were no problems with logging in. Ugh.

At no point in my studying did I manage to pick up that I would have to actually work with the products. How would they do that? That's just crazy talk. I might have seen some vague reference to that, but I thought it was for certified trainers. So, I'm chugging along with the test and suddenly I have to actually DO stuff with YouTube. And calendars in mail. And set up a Google classroom, which I had never, never done.

I still passed, thank goodness. So now I can get the little plastic widget for my Chrome Book, like all of the cool kids. I'm a good choice for building tech person because my schedule is flexible, children can come to me all day with problems, and I can fix most of them. And I'm kind about having to turn on the teachers' surge protectors, which is an enormous part of the job.

I can also, in case of an apocalypse, fill a fountain pen bladder with ink, use a manual typewriter, and dial a rotary phone. Old people got SKILLS. We just have so many that we occasionally get confused about them.

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