We’ve come a long way, Baby! No where is that statement more appropriate than when it comes to school supplies. From the time of the ancient Greeks of Aristotle’s time with the abacus to the 21st century student with his Blackberry and laptop computer with Internet access to the world, the process of acquiring an education has made astounding leaps forward.
It all started with the caveman and a few etchings on stones to communicate information. Most early knowledge was passed verbally from generation to generation, usually in story form, because literacy was a rare commodity for early generations of Homo sapiens. Even after reading and writing became more common, it was a privilege reserved for the wealthy and high placed in society. In fact, it’s only been in the last few hundred years that education for the general populace took on any real importance in society, and even then it was almost exclusively a privilege for boys and young men.
Modern culture has seen the rise of educational opportunities and an expansion of delivery methods. The tools of education today are so far removed from that of past generations as to be unrecognizable.
Basic textbooks have been replaced with digital textbooks that provide a more environmentally friendly method of delivering up-to-date research and information. The teacher standing at the blackboard painstakingly writing out copious class notes in chalk for the dutiful student to copy into their spiral notebook has been replaced with instructors providing downloadable course information that goes directly into the 21st century version of a “notebook,” the laptop computer.
Homework assignments that used to be typed up on manual or electric typewriters, only to be revised, retyped and corrected for what seemed like forever before being placed in cute little folders or plastic report covers are now submitted electronically. Word processing types of software make the revision and correction a simple matter of a few keystrokes.
Even the basic school supplies of desks and chairs in classrooms are being replaced with the advancement of distance learning options where students can sign into their “classroom” on the computer from home and participate as if they were in the same room as the other students and the teacher. Cyber learning is only in its infancy in terms of its place in the future of education.
The classroom of yesterday was supplied with number two pencils, paper, 3-ring binders, erasers and volumes of textbooks that could be held in the hand. The classroom of today and especially of tomorrow will exist in an entirely new venue supplied with the tools of technology.