One of the things I did this past week was to help interview candidates for our district’s opening for a Technology Director. Listening to the responses of the candidates also caused me to reflect on just how far technology has come since I started in the education field over eighteen years ago.
When started teaching in 1992, there were no computers in the classroom. I didn’t have a computer at home. There was a computer “lab” that had fifteen Apple IIe’s in a trailer known not very fondly as the “portable”. It was well out to the side of the high school football field where it met up with the elementary playground.
I had several disastrous attempts to take my class to the lab to use software on a floppy disc. You know. The big 5 1/4 quarter inch soft floppy that was first out. There were some copies of Oregon Trail and some math game. In teacher education, we had learned to write a program that could make a turtle icon up and back.
I got my own computer later that year when I started my master’s degree at The Ohio State university. It was a heavy Mac-I don’t remember the exact model but from looking through images, I’m 95% sure it was the MacintoshII. I think it was around $2000 when it was all said and done. I was darn proud to have one as it was expected that we have access to one for our master’s degree work. I remember going to Micro Center to buy a dial up modem so I could do some online research. It was a beast of a machine that I carried from the student union at OSU to my car some far distance away. The modem came with AOL and used a search engigne that I think was called Gopher.
My third year of teaching we each got one big dinosaur of a computer for our classroom. I don’t remember any software that came with it, but I was able to type my newsletters and create study guides or tests in an “word” like program. It used the 3 inch hard “floppies” to save, as did my home computer. Some files I worked with in grad school might span five discs. There was still no Internet at school.
Sometime around 1997, SchoolNet money from the state brought upgraded electrical wiring and internet wiring to the classroom. Large conduits on the inside of the classroom walls were run and it was a big deal to decide where to have your outlet put, as it would decide your classroom configuration for years to come. Before that electrical upgrade, there was one outlet in the back of the room and one outlet in the front of the room.