Back to School Supplies

Rikki Endsley

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Aug 21, 2008 GMT
Rikki Kite

It's been a quiet week on my blog, in part because it's that time of year again – the kids go back to school, and the parents do a lot of last-minute shopping and organizing.

On my way to work this morning, I dropped my daughter off for her first day of Junior High. Yep, they really do grow up so fast.

At her new school, the kids each get 9 weeks of computer classes. I'm still not sure what the curriculum will be, but I think some simple web design is part of it. Although 9 weeks a year might not sound like much computer training, it's 9 weeks more than she got at her previous school, so it's a start.

I can't help but wonder how much technology will change before Cleo graduates high school in 2014 and starts college.

The New York Times recently ran an article about some universities giving iPhones and Internet-capable iPods to incoming students. The article says:

"The always-on Internet devices raise some novel possibilities, like tracking where students congregate. With far less controversy, colleges could send messages about canceled classes, delayed buses, campus crises or just the cafeteria menu."

Of course the students will be delighted, Professors will be irritated by yet another distraction, and Apple will be capturing new consumers. I'm just jealous.

Here's the part where I start to sound a little bit like my Grandpa and his "when I was your age" stories:

When I graduated from high school, my father gave me my first electric typewriter. I felt so modern.

When I graduated from college, my father gave me my first computer. The Internet was still pretty novel then, and I only wrote one paper – my final semester – in the computer lab. I churned out every other paper on my trusty electric typewriter with a bottle of whiteout nearby.

When I started grad school, I was thrilled to enroll in classes online rather than on the phone or, even worse, standing in line to turn in my enrollment paperwork in person. When I bought my books, I treated myself to my first iPod and I swear they released the video iPods two weeks later. So when I graduated from grad school, I treated myself to my iPod Nano.

No doubt, iPods will be replaced by some other sexy, shiny gadget by the time Cleo heads off to college, and she'll need to buy an adapter for her new technology to work in my hand-me-down car. And when she grumbles about my out-of-date car with its obsolete CD player, I'm going to feel a little bit like my Grandpa again – my first car, believe it or not, only played 8-tracks.

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