Are we on the brink of a new way of communicating our thoughts to one another? Absolutely. I have no doubt that the elementary kids of today will have a different way of presenting information to their students, if they choose the teaching profession. The future will be about inviting into schools the outcast cell phone, and kids having access to their own personal computers at younger and younger ages.
My graduation gift from high school was a typewriter. I was thrilled that I could type my papers and did not have to hand-write them all. I could not have predicted kids today would have to bring their own computer to college. We live in the “Nano” world with everything getting smaller. I am sure my daughter will be taking some kind of communication device with her in six years when she goes to college. I do not think it will even be the laptop. I imagine it will be something much smaller, or that each dorm room will have a built in laptop and all she will need will be a back-up and transfer device, like a key. On the other hand, maybe it will be a way of communicating that only Ted.com knows about right now.
The question of whether or not a low-tech publishing tool will be used in the future is a good one. I find myself reminiscing about Mrs. Booth’s after school poetry club. I was in fourth grade when Mrs. Booth created a poetry magazine. I still have my bundle of pages stapled together, copied on a hand-cranked mimeograph machine that smudged a little if you weren’t careful. Oh, but how we loved seeing our work in print. It is no different today; our kids love creating brochures and magazines. There is something very touching about not only seeing your written word in a form that others can enjoy, but also, in being able to hold it up high and wave it at somebody else with a shout, “Hey, did you see what I wrote?” This time honored tradition of linking pride and celebration with the publication of our thoughts and ideas will, I predict, keep alive and well the desktop publishing low-tech products that we have used for so long. The delivery mode (tablet, printing press, typewriter, laptop/printer) may change up in years to come, but I am convinced there is something innately human about holding one’s writing in one’s own hand. We are people living in a changing time, but as the world gets smaller, or flatter, we are also people with a longing to connect with one another and to tell our stories. As people in the present, we will continue to use desktop publishing tools in our schools for the near future.
In the book, Critical Connections: Communication for our Future, by the US Office of Technology Assessment, it speaks to the cost efficiency of desk top publishing, and also of the self-esteem and self-confidence levels that arise from dtp. This is a time for cutting costs, and definitely a time to increase the self-esteem and self-confidence of our students. Mrs. Booth was on to something back in the late seventies. I will always be grateful.
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