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!