Smartphone Out, Thesaurus In

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Smartphone Out, Thesaurus In

Illustrating creativity, a student draws an iPhone on the ancient chalkboard of room I-104.

Illustrating creativity, a student draws an iPhone on the ancient chalkboard of room I-104.

Photo Credit Nicole Seemann

Illustrating creativity, a student draws an iPhone on the ancient chalkboard of room I-104.

Photo Credit Nicole Seemann

Photo Credit Nicole Seemann

Illustrating creativity, a student draws an iPhone on the ancient chalkboard of room I-104.

Nicole Seemann, Website Assistant

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Imagine the world as you know it completely gone. Imagine your teenage lives thrown back into ancient times. Imagine the 1980s where there was no social media, no laptops, no cellphones. What would school be like in this Stone Age? Well, here is a brief list to give you a little glimpse of what you escaped.

  1. Let’s start with phones. In fact, 95% of Americans have a cellphone of some type, and 77% have a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center. Now, go back a few decades, and they are gone. A teenager’s precious phone is suddenly replaced with a rotary phone. What is this old device? Believe it or not, it’s a phone with no touch screen, no texting and no games. You have to move a dial, and the phone is connected to a bulky box with a wire. You can’t even take it to school! “I couldn’t use it to talk or pass time. I can’t pretend on my phone when I am awkwardly standing alone waiting for someone. I mean do I just stare off into space?” sophomore Dominique Martin said. The world of today’s teenagers would be doomed.
  2. You know how in old movies teachers have this weird black or green board behind them and how they write on it with a little stick? This strange object is a chalkboard, and the stick, chalk. This was used in classrooms before whiteboards . . . which was used before the HoverCam . . . which was used before smart boards. Just imagine how dirty we would be, having chalk stains on our hands and everything we touch. We would never have clean shirts again! Plus, it’s so hard to clean. You have to use a rag or special eraser, and even then it leaves smudges across the whole board. It’s just too much.
  3. This next point may shock you—continue reading at your own risk. In the 1950s, there were no phones and no advanced computers. In most cases, you had to resort to the library. If you were given an assignment and needed to look up some facts, you would have to go to the library. Taking a walk through the endless card catalog, you search to see if your book is in stock. Then you have to go get the book and read it. The horror! But wait—it gets worse. In some cases, the book is out of stock. You have wasted your time and can’t even do your assignment unless you go to a different library or wait for someone to return it. It’s horrible; I warned you.

    Photo Credit Nicole Seemann
    Searching for the definition of technology, one junior resorts to her phone. The old dictionary underneath left forgotten.

  4. Now for the paddle. No, not the paddle used to row down the relaxing lake of Lake Havasu City, but the paddle used for corporal punishment. This is a punishment which allows teachers and other school personnel to whack insubordinate students. Surprisingly, this method is not that old. In fact, it’s still legal in 19 states. That’s got to hurt.
  5. It’s a well known fact that a majority of students don’t like math. These days we have calculators to help us through this struggle, but what about back then? Pocket sized calculators weren’t even available until the 1970s, and they were not nearly as advanced as the graphing calculators we have today. They had the Slide rule. The Slide rule had a sliding central strip and logramatic scales to help students calculate multiplication and division problems quicker, but it still wasn’t that quick. It would take you a fraction of the time to use a calculator than to use this strange ruler-like device.
  6. Every hear of a dunce cap? A dunce cap looks like a long gigantic cone of shame. Students wore these caps on top of their heads as a punishment for insolence or poor aptitude, and the other students enjoyed their humiliation as they sat in a corner of the room. You could be given this disgrace for misbehaving or just simply asking a question the teacher considered stupid.

While there are even more of these terrifying, ancient abominations such as the encyclopedia and the dreaded thesaurus, I will stop as I have already scared you enough. Now you can go call your grandparents and tell them how sorry you are for the horrible conditions they suffered through in their high school years. Just make sure to call with a rotary phone.