Have you ever considered the number of “new” technologies that have become obsolete during your
lifetime. Have you ever considered how much differently you might see the world if you had
never come into contact with items like vinyl records or rotary phones. Let me introduce you
to a hypothetical 8th grade student and tell you a few things about the world as he or she
might perceive it. You might want to brace yourself for this:
They were probably born sometime in 1996 and are about 13 years old. The First Gulf War happened before they were born as did the Cold War and as far as they know,
there has always been a large US military presence in the Middle East.
They have only really known two US Presidents. They were in preschool when George Bush entered
office in 2001.
There has always been an internet. There have always been CD’s and DVD’s. Cassette tapes are just as obsolete as vinyl records and they probably have no idea what an 8
track tape is.
Answering machines, cordless phones and cell phones have been around for as long as they can
Since they were 4 years old new cars have had airbags. The Cosby Show had its last season before they were born. TV’s have always been in full color and they have always had remote controls. There have always been digital cameras. The first Nintendo Games Boys are older than they are. The first portable MP3 players came out before they were in school. They weren’t in school when Columbine school shooting happened. The original Star Wars movie was released 17 years BEFORE they were born. Stamps have never been cheaper than 32 cents. In their lifetime there was never a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Apartheid in South
Africa but there has always been a European Union.
Most have never even seen a rotary dial phone. Women have always outnumbered men on American college campuses.
Keep in mind that this is just a partial list. Consider how differently these kids might
perceive the world with all the new technologies they are experiencing. Consider the effects
of MP3 players, hybrid cars, cell phones with cameras, the internet. Any one of these
technologies can drastically change how you understand and view the world. All music seems
to be free online, new technology can solve any energy crisis. Immediate communication is
almost always available. And just about any question you can think up can be answered quickly
online. This doesn’t necessarily mean the physical or psychological needs of human development
have changed. But this might mean that educators are challenged like never before to make
their curriculum relevant to their students. Something to think about.