Growing up in Germany in the 70’s and 80’s as a forces child wasn’t as technology orientated as today, mobiles didn’t yet exist, instead, you had the now sought after retro landline phones. The internet as we know it was yet to be born and home computers were rare. I learned to touch type on an old Olivetti typewriter, a skill that has stood the test of time and was one of the first cohorts to sit a word-processing exam as part of my office practice course in Year 11. It was a time of questionable fashion but great music.
My access to information was a world of books, comics, newspapers, radio and a small black and white television with only one channel (BFBS/SSVC). Within our 1970s busy household, I spent much of my childhood silent, immersed in books and the library which was a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of home. An avid reader, I was brought up on the classics for children. My father didn’t believe in gender stereotypes so I dived headlong into Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe and Jules Vern’s Eighty Days Around the World to list but a few.
My grandparents and parents always strove to keep up with the latest models and gadgets amongst which the colour TV, video recorder, Atari, Walkman and the Camcorder. It was an era of great technological advancement, although it could be argued that every age is. Yet my generation seemed to have been the forerunners of much of today’s technology which has modernised by getting smaller, faster and more complex.
Just imagine carrying around the first Motorola mobile that weighed 1.1Kg, compared with a smartphone of today that weighs in at 145 grams. I didn’t use a mobile until I was in my late 30s or upgrade constantly. I simply did not feel the need to be on hand instantly or pay large amounts of money for the latest model, even if it did have a nice apple on it. Although, I give full credit to the brilliantly marketed products that keep their audience, for the most part, hooked.
My nostalgia here serves the purpose of showing that we all have childhoods with technology that is new to that generation and it disappears or upgrades just as quickly. In addition, progress driven by consumerism is not new to today’s market, or is it consumerism driven by progress? Both are closely linked and not the reserve of the society we live in today. Each generation throughout history has had its own upgrades. Just think of the advancements made in the Victorian industrial age alone. Technology has made our world smaller and we now engage much more with it and the world, more quickly, visually and intellectually. In an instant world of must-have, what have we lost?
Since starting this course I have had to take an active part in the social media world that I have chosen to stay on the periphery of for so long. Despite this, I am not a complete novice as I use WhatsApp and have in the past dipped my metaphoric toe into Facebook. Nevertheless, attempting to blog, use Twitter and struggling to operate the new MacBook Air my son insisted I needed (he upgraded his) is a steep learning curve.
This blog will no doubt not be as prosaic or profound as some, but that is not primarily what this voyage for me is about. It is about being brave enough to challenge myself and ‘join the conversation.’ To reach or overreach my learning potential. Indeed, it could be argued that the word potential in an educational context is a misnomer put in place by others or ourselves to grade or hem us in. The capacity to accumulate knowledge is unique to each of us we are the ones who decided when to stop or give in. I am currently undergoing my latest personal upgrade as a student on this course and am embracing the challenges that are coming my way. We are all a product of our upbringing, time and experiences, bringing different strengths to the table. I look forward to sitting at that table with you this year.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.