Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ancient writing

Last week I had to proctor 6th graders English exam. At one point I just stood in front of the class and watched. Everyone seemed to be working on an open response question, all the pens were moving. Then the thought hit it - "How long till handwriting is considered ancient history?"
No, really. How long till people look back in history and say, "Children used to be taught how to handwrite?!?! Impressive!!!!"
How long till handwriting becomes unrecognizable squiggles on a page, like hieroglyphs are to us?
How long?
How long till opening a dictionary is not longer thought of when trying to find out the spelling of a word? I still think of it, but hardly ever do it. I just type the word as best as I can and let self-correction red-mark it in case it's wrong. When It is wrong, they give me a list of possibilities... I just have to pick the right one and my spelling problem is solved.
But how long until people no longer understand that we used to also be able do that using dictionaries? How long until they ask, "Did people have to go all the way up to a shelf and pull out a heavy bulky book and look for a word?"
How long until paper books is something that will only be found in museums. How long till people say, "Can you imagine all that paper around the house!" "Can you imagine not being able to find a word or phrase immediately, and just having to mark every page with little color piece of paper!"(they won't know the word post-its).

Oh, I believe these days are coming. Not soon, not for any of us alive today to see. But I think we will be part of an ancient civilization someday - if Jesus doesn't return before that - a civilization known for the use of ink and paper. And the environmentalists will have to find something other than cutting-trees-for-paper-production problem to solve.

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