Everything Old Is New Again?

Will Rogers typing in carI read this morning that the last typewriter manufacturer is closing its doors. Then I read that the last typewriter manufacturers are, in fact, still open. The one reported factory closure is in India, so there are no more Indian typewriter manufacturers. But they still build them in China, Japan, and Indonesia. Erroneous reports of the death of the typewriter made their way from Twitter feeds to Facebook walls.

I’m not going to make this post into an homage to the Smith Corona, but I will take just a moment to thank the typewriters of my father’s car dealership for turning me into the word junkie that I am today. I started typing before I knew how to form words.

This morning, after a brief conversation with Mailbox editor Sherry McGregor about typewriters and iPads, the idea of old technology remaining useful began percolating in my head. As the world turns its lonely eyes to the interactive whiteboard, I cannot help but think of the intoxicating smell of dry-erase markers and of class time spent with warm overhead projectors.

As a teacher, I used an antiquated overhead projector when document cameras were making inroads. And while I am planning to use my tax refund to finally get an iPhone, I might hit a few antique stores this weekend to buy a decent-quality Royal Futura 800 typewriter, just for kicks.

Is there any antiquated classroom item you cling to? Perhaps you rush to embrace all new teaching technologies, from smartphones to tablets. Maybe you happily wear the label of School Luddite. Share your thoughts on tech in the classroom!

Photo courtesy The Will Rogers Memorial Museums.

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