Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What's In Your Desk Drawer? Day 17

How many CDs do you still have laying around?

It's interesting how educational technologies continue to shift and evolve. I wrote a bit about this a couple weeks ago when I was thinking about the filmstrip I have in my desk drawer.

Today I noticed that I have a spindle pack of blank CD's in there too.

My laptop has a CD drive. I'm trying to remember the last time I used it to actually play a CD or read information off of a CD-ROM...and I can't remember. Maybe last summer? Maybe it was the summer before that!

Remember these babies?
Image by Nafija55 [CC BY-SA 3.0]
I remember, back in 1998 when I first heard about Apple's then brand-new computer, the iMac, and thinking how crazy it was that they didn't have a disk drive. Remember floppy disks? I'm old enough to remember when floppy disks were still floppy. By the time I was in high school and college, they were instead rigid plastic. Today, the only example most kids have to picture a "floppy disk" is the symbol on the "Save" button in their word processor. (I once actually had a student ask my why that symbol was used for "save." I had to go scrounging through some boxes to find a "floppy" to show him. This was five years ago already...)

Okay, so Steve Jobs was a man ahead of his time, able to see the future day when we wouldn't need a floppy disk anymore. But how about the CD? I have this partial spindle pack of blank CD-ROMs in my drawer in case I need to back things up...but when was the last time I did that? I can't remember.

I also have several of these babies in my desk drawer:

When I was Tech Coordinator, I lived and died by the 32 GB flashdrive I kept on my keychain. It had all of my mission critical files, and they came with me all the time, just in case I needed them at a moment's notice. (And of COURSE I kept a back up copy, off campus, just in case...)

But I was looking at this flash drive, and I couldn't even remember what I had saved on it, because I wasn't sure the last time I had plugged it in to my computer. (Interesting collection of old files on this one...but I won't get into that.)

Today, most of my documents are saved and backed up in "the cloud"--saved on some other computer someplace else on the internet. Yes, I still keep files on my hard drive. But find I keep stashing more and more things out in the weird network of computers that collectively make up the internet.

I have this headset in my desk drawer too. I use it when I'm making instructional videos, so I have better audio quality. (If you'd really like to see an example, here's one I made to teach one of my classes some things about the history of middle level schools, which I created for my Middle School Curriculum and Instruction course.)

Why share this? I make enough audio and video files these days that my hard drive could be filled many times over if I were to save them all on my laptop. So I save them in the cloud--on YouTube, in the example above.

This has me wondering a bit about what's next? We went from "floppy" floppy disks, to "rigid" floppy disks, to CDs, to DVDs, to flashdrives, to the cloud in less than 30 years. What will the next 30 years hold?

And will we still use the image of a floppy disk to indicate "this is the button to click to save your work?"


(This post is part of a series about the weird stuff teachers have in their desk drawers. You can read more about this project here, and I hope you'll share the stories of the weird stuff you have in your desk too!)

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