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!


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