When you've survived almost 70 years, you have encountered many changes. I've been thinking recently about the changes I've seen in technology. My technology while in college was a slide rule. When I did my masters work in math a few years later at Bucknell we used huge desktop statistical calculators. A few years later I took 12 credits at Florida State and there we used punch cards to run on a huge computer that filled several rooms. Unfortunately, I don't remember the year when we first rented a Monroe programmable calculator at Penn Manor to teach a form of programming, again with punch cards. It cost almost $4,000 a year to rent this even though it was limited to 256 lines of directions. A year later we were able to purchase the same machine for about $3,500. As the price dropped, we purchased one for each math classroom. Then came the first handheld scientific calculator and we purchased one from Sears for the entire department at about $300. A few years later Radio Shack produced the first actual small computer, TRS-80, with a monitor and separate keyboard. Programs were inputted and saved on a tape recorder. Soon we purchased a complete lab of these even though all you could do was write BASIC programs. However, we were the first school in the county to do this and actually teach computer programming. Then things really took off and when I retired we had a lab of iMacs and every teacher was doing grades, attendance, and record keeping on computers. We were also able to send all of our tests, letters, and reports from our computer to the printer or even post them online. It was an incredible change. Now it seems as though technology is almost a necessary part of our lives - e-mail, purchasing, Facebook, smart phones, ipods, ipads, etc.. I'm not sure how folks get along today without having access to the technology. And if you have a problem, just ask a young person and they'll probably give you the help you need. All the kids use it. But what about the older generations? I just read some interesting information that says 47% of adults, 50 - 64, use social media sites, primarily Facebook. And 26% of those over 64 also are users. Of those 50 - 64, 92% send and read e-mail and more than half of those use it more than once a day. 94% of online grandmothers are on Facebook as are 84% of granddads. I admit that I spend hours at the computer with e-mail, Facebook, managing a website, writing two blogs, keeping records,banking, looking at favorite sites, and purchasing. I love it. Last fall our vent puppet, Grandma, read an appropriate poem (which I had modified) about technology at the Sr. Saints retreat. Here it is for your enjoyment.
In the not too distant past,
We remember it quite well,
Grandma tended to her knitting
And her cookies were just swell.
She was always there and ready
When you needed some advice
And her sewing let me tell you
Was available--and nice.
Well Grandma's not deserted you,
She loves you without fail,
You'll find her on the internet
Reading her e-mails.
She thinks about you daily
You haven't been forsook.
Your photos are quite handy
On her wall on her Facebook.
She scans your artwork now,
And combines it with cool sounds
To make electronic greetings;
To e-mail all around.
She's right there when you need her
You really aren't alone.
She's listening to her ipod
And she has her own cell phone.
Her answering machine is ready,
Your questions you may leave,
She'll google up an answer
At speeds you won't believe.
Yes, the world's a different place now,
There's no doubt at all of that,
So "E" her from her web page,
Or join her in a chat.
She's joined the electronic age
And it really seems to suit her,
So don't expect the same old gal, '
cause Grandma's gone "Computer."