Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Look, it had knobs!

I was trying to remember when I got my first computer. It was late by a lot of standards. Schools were already requiring kids to do any type of report on a computer which made me angry because we didn’t have one. I couldn’t afford it so my kids were going to the library to do what a good deal of the other kids were doing at home.

My daughter and I were talking the other day about something we saw on TV about cheating, and teachers using websites to verify whether their students work is original or not. I think the one they mentioned was checkitout.com but I haven’t visited it so I’m not sure.

During the discussion I was expressing how I used to copy things out of encyclopedias when I was a kid. I remember doing a report on Finland and talking about gross national product and land mass and all kinds of fun things. But I copied it by hand onto lined notebook paper. We were graded on neatness and spelling and we sure as heck didn’t have spell-check.

So is that the new “when I was a kid I walked a mile to school, barefoot, in the snow…”? I can tell my kids “yeah, when I was your age, we only had 4 TV channels and maybe 3 more if the antenna could pick up the VHS stations.” And “when I was a kid we had to watch TV shows right when they were on, there was no way to record them or choose when we wanted to see them.” And oh the horror – “we had to WALK over to the TV every.single.time. we wanted to change the channel.”

So yeah, I hand wrote that report on Finland. I looked up information from 3 different encyclopedias and wrote it in pen, there was no erasing. No backspacing, no mistakes. And y’know what else? I had to know how to alphabetize because that’s the way the information was arranged in encyclopedias.

We did everything the hard way so-to-speak but there was no easy way for a teacher to tell whether or not we copied our reports word for word.

We had that going for us. And that was good.


opalpearl3 said...

Hi. Just discovered your blog. Love it. I grew up in the same era as you (I'm 50) and I love this post about how we only got 4 tv channels.
When I was a kid, I held on to the rabbit ears on the tv so we would get better reception. My son thinks it is so funny that I did that. When I told him it was such a big deal to have a color tv that people would throw parties and invite their friends over to see the color tv, he laughed. Good memories, lots of laughs.

Hev said...

Hello Beetejo :)

I still reel in disbelief at what kids do today. I am not 'old' but at 34 I tend to feel I am from the ark. We had to find things to research, if one book wasnt good enough we would search for another. We would draw things to go in our reports - good old tracing paper and a steady hand if we had to do countries or something similar. I LOVED doing stuff like that and when a report was finished, even if I didnt enjoy the subject it was a mission accomplished and that gave me joy.

We couldnt pass a grade until we had at least 85% accurancy in spelling and maths. We got into trouble and were worried about punishment.

I kind of feel sad for kids today - so much is there at the click of a button - I know some kids do research a lot but lots dont.

Have a lovely day
Hev xx

JenK said...

When I was a kid we had computers but we had to use the F keys to make them work. And we had to write long lines of code to make a "turtle" scuttle around the screen.

I'm not sure why we wanted the turtle to move. Things are a bit fuzzy when I try to think too far back into the Olden Days.

BetteJo said...

When my daughter was little she used to ask me if there were covered wagons when I was her age. She's lucky I liked her.

The Beading Gem said...

I tell my kids that our first tv didn't come into our home until I was seven! Kids today cannot fathom what is it to do without a tv, computer and oh, yes, the microwave. To come to think of it, I couldn't imagine doing without a microwave and the photocopier today.

Heather said...

The World Books in picture are like the set we had before they got traded in for a new set. Thank you for the memories!

BetteJo said...

I searched for that pic - I wanted World Book because that was the kind I used the most as a kid. Encyclopedia Britannica was difficult!

LadyBanana said...

I so agree with you, how times have changed.

I remember how the other kids clamoured round when I at 16 had a calculator and no one else did!!

Jewellery Craft said...

I feel so old! I'm 46 (I think) and we used to get a testcard thingy on the telly when the programmes ran out and a very polite chap used to wish us a very good night..............

AND, a shop in this country is discontinuing selling CD's...........my kids aint all that bothered but I can remember spending hours rooting through the vinyl saying "CD's, they'll never take off" HAH.....