Monday, November 28, 2011

Technology in the Olden Days

 This past summer I purged some books in our basement which I had had since my college days.  I graduated from Ohio University in 1971, so those books were old!  I chuckled as I read one of the books about making teaching materials, with an emphasis on audio-visuals.

  I can remember in a methods class making a copy by putting paper in some "gloppy" mess.  I saw the process in that old book, but I really don't know what the heck was in that mess.  I know that I have never made one of those copies again in my teaching career!

  Making copies in those early days took much patience.  I used those old mimeo sheets which made copies with purple print.  You had to type very carefully on those sheets.  Any mistake had to be literally scraped off the back.  I remember often hand printing some of my work because it was easier and more reliable than typing.  I'm pretty sure I still have some of those purple-lettered sheets in the crawl space in our basement.  Cleaning out those will be for another day...

  One of my hidden talents is threading a movie projector!  I loved showing movies about history in my class, and I learned how to work the projector and how to troubleshoot any problems.   Those who know the magic of a movie projector understand that the "loop" of the film must be just a certain size.  I had the touch to make that loop just right.  One time in the 70s I went to a meeting with my husband--movies of horse races were on the program.  No one could really get the projector to work, and Dean volunteered me to help.  Yep--I got the loop right and the group enjoyed those movies.  I felt like a hero--a technological genius.

   Of course, my projector skills are obsolete now. 

  Another device I loved was an opaque projector!  I showed pictures from books on that old monster.  Bob oh boy--that thing got hot!  It was also noisy, but I always loved showing pictures.  I think our art teacher still uses one of these when students need to trace shapes from pictures.  Gee--if that one breaks, can our school even buy another one?  Can we even get bulbs for it if one burns out??

   Another often used item was a filmstrip projector.   One thing I liked was the ability to add info as I showed those filmstrips.  Of course, this was much more difficult for the "modern" filmstrips which had sound with them--usually played on a record player or a tape recorder. (Oh yeah--records could have scatches and tapes could break)

   The old stuff usually had the same purposes as much of the new technology we use today.  I was trying to offer variety and  to find ways to engage the kids.  A big difference is that today's technology allows students to make more choices in their learning.  One of new  educational mantras is focusing on student learning and not teachers teaching---I see that educators can do more with current technology to help student learning.  But, I also think education can't undervalue good teaching methods!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why I Decided to Blog?

 The year 2012 will be an eventful one.  After 37 years of teaching, I will retire on June 30.  Thoughts about retirement have been floating around in my head for the last few years.  Many of these thoughts have not been about plans for retirement but about my teaching career over these years.  I wish I could remember all the students I ever had and all the colleagues I ever met, but that task is impossible. 

 Somehow I don't think I can know where I am going until I know where I have been.  So I plan to use these posts to reflect, to plan, to add new ideas on education, and to thank those who have helped me on my journey. 

  I was one the last babies born in the 40s--November 24, 1949 to be exact.  Now educators talk about 21st century skills for students.  I'd like to think I still have some ideas to offer in this converstion.

So--here I go!!