Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Narration: The Shallows: Chapter 1

Hal* and Me

In this chapter, Mr. Carr briefly fills us in on his gradual adaptation to digital technology. He actually does start with his birth (1959) and what he calls his “Analogue Youth”. Ha.

Since you really ought to read the book yourself, I’m not going to narrate his history. Instead, here is my own.

I had a partial analog childhood (rotary phone and all) but we got our first home computer in the early 1980s, when I was in junior high. It was a Commodore 64. The only thing I remember about it is “Radar Rat Race”, a simple and silly game similar to Pac-Man.

We used computers in high school. We analyzed our personalities in order to discover which careers would best suit us. We took exams on Scantron test forms that could then be fed into a machine for scoring. (My first class on Proper Bubbling was in high school.) We wrote reports on home computers.

My parents gave me a word processor when I went to college. It was more like a glorified typewriter than a computer. It did have a memory, though.

My second year of college, the administration did something new and different. Instead of requiring us to stand in line all over campus to register for classes, they assigned us each a time to call the registration line. We registered by punching in class codes with our touchtone phones. For the first time, I conducted business in my pajamas.

I married the Warrior Poet in the early 90s. Within four years we had a daughter and a computer. We used the computer like a word processor. Eventually we had another daughter and another computer. This one connected to a new thing called the Internet.

I am not a techie. All this electronic stuff mystifies me. What I remember about our first Internet connection is that the computer was in a windowless room ‘way in the back of the house where none of the babies liked to play. I did not use it very often. I did occasionally order groceries online to be delivered to our home. That was a real blessing for a mom with three small children. :)

In 2004, we moved. We fitted up a schoolroom just off the kitchen and put our computer in this lovely, bright room. I began using the Internet daily. Within a year, I had joined several Yahoo discussion groups and started my own blog.

Eventually we acquired all the rest of it—- laptops, Wi-Fi, smartphones, social networking, etc. And here we sit.

The Internet has enabled us to homeschool on a shoestring. We use the Ambleside Online free curriculum. Many books we read are available online for free. We use free online current events resources. We search for the lowest prices on homeschooling materials. We use the Internet to compare explanations of difficult concepts in math or science. We cross-reference timelines and biographical information. We network and connect with other homeschoolers.

What would we have done without it? I'm sure we would have done something. But what?

We didn't realize the Internet was going to be such a boon when we made the decision to homeschool in 1998. We certainly didn't realize we would come to rely on it.

(How about you? I'd love to hear about your family's journey from analog to digital.)

Mr. Carr says we give up “our old linear thought process” in exchange for the use of the Internet. Our old way of thinking is calmer and more in-depth, but the new way is very stimulating. Some of his friends have even given up reading books!

That has not happened at our house. But we do feel the pull of the Internet even when we are not online. The literary mind has been at the forefront since Gutenberg’s printing press made books common. Is it becoming obsolete?

*The title of the chapter refers to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

1 comment:

Katie said...

I know what you're going to say-- this is not a short narration! But it is actually 1/6 the length of the chapter. In that way, it does qualify as short. ;o)