A Year of "Firsts"

November 29, 2007

fisher_price_famersays.jpgThe calendar year is winding down and I’m reflecting on a great year – a year of many good firsts for me.

  • First year working for Brandon Hall Research full-time (after working a year and a half part-time)
  • First year of working at home full-time (after a year of working at home one day a week)
  • First year blogging
  • First time I met several of my co-workers face-to-face

Firsts bring change. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. Firsts are what learning is all about. Firsts are experiences that change the way we do, feel, view…

Working at Brandon Hall Research has changed the way I live, working at home has changed the way I parent, blogging has made me more reflective, meeting my co-workers has given me a greater feeling of connection. Suh-weet! How about you?

Some random firsts –

  • first can-opener (1858), 30 years after the can (eventually used to open a can of spam?)
  • first edible spam (1937)
  • first email (1965), first email spam (1971)
  • first Monty Python SPAM sketch (1970)
  • first time I packed a can of spam while moving and wondered why I had spam in the cupboard (2007)

What were the firsts in our field? The Wikipedia entry on instructional technology notes that its first use cannot be attributed to a specific person or time. When did you first use instructional technology?

My first use of instructional technology (that I can remember) was the See-and-Say (the farmer says) (1965).  Does anyone remember that? The cow says Mooo…

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/tomwerner/ Tom Werner

    Hi Janet, the first use of instructional technology that I remember was having a television in our third-grade class (about 1960). We had French lessons on TV, which weren’t too great. The teacher would say, “Écoutez” (listen), then say something in French, then say, “Répétez” (repeat), and we would mumble it back. Of course we knew she couldn’t hear us.

    However, we also got to watch Alan Sheppard’s space flight and that was good learning.

    The first big “transforming” use of instructional technology that I remember was the copy machine, which arrived in the educational world when I was in college. Suddenly, there was this new thing called “hand-outs,” which wasn’t the textbook and wasn’t a lecture, but was a third thing: the professor being an author and a course tinkerer. What followed after that was a zillion variations of courses as professors came up with syllabi, hand-outs, point systems, objectives, study questions, quizzes, activity instructions, extra-credit modules, etc., etc. And I think all this started because professors could readily “publish” stuff on copy machines.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/tomwerner/ Tom Werner

    Hi Janet, the first use of instructional technology that I remember was having a television in our third-grade class (about 1960). We had French lessons on TV, which weren’t too great. The teacher would say, “Écoutez” (listen), then say something in French, then say, “Répétez” (repeat), and we would mumble it back. Of course we knew she couldn’t hear us.

    However, we also got to watch Alan Sheppard’s space flight and that was good learning.

    The first big “transforming” use of instructional technology that I remember was the copy machine, which arrived in the educational world when I was in college. Suddenly, there was this new thing called “hand-outs,” which wasn’t the textbook and wasn’t a lecture, but was a third thing: the professor being an author and a course tinkerer. What followed after that was a zillion variations of courses as professors came up with syllabi, hand-outs, point systems, objectives, study questions, quizzes, activity instructions, extra-credit modules, etc., etc. And I think all this started because professors could readily “publish” stuff on copy machines.

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