My typewriter shuttles between home and my computer lab. So when I brought it back from school last week I was surprised to see it was a Corona.
The company that made these marvelous machines was actually Smith Corona. This model goes back to 1935! I love the sound of the keys as I type. Interestingly I use it in demos when introducing keyboarding in class each semester. You should see the rush of students waiting to use the clickety-clack machine –in a class filled with 34 computers!
On an interesting side note, you should watch this TED talk that I had referenced some time back. It’s how a technology innovator names Aparna Rao, hacked a typewriter to enable it to send email! Why? Because it helped her uncle feel he was typing a letter, and still give him the ability to email. Fast forward to 1 min, 14 secs for this segment.
So much of tech in our lives is about inanimate objects that deliver some convenience.
Maybe they animate our lives a bit: Typewriters helped us write better reports. Levers helped us move large rocks. Microphones and memory devices) helped us record and preserve important moments.
I’m becoming more steeped in the four S-T-E-M areas, because (a) that’s where all education is headed, and (b) I run a computer and tech lab for a school where students from Kindergarten to 6th grade come to experience computers in education.
So it’s always refreshing to be able to focus on technology that is not a computer, or at least one that NOT rectangle-with-screen. I have robots, of course (a big ‘Aha’ for third graders): rectangle with wheels and sensors, and a few other objects.
But where could you take (or hide) a computer, to make our lives more interesting?
I found a great example of a ‘technologist’ who comes from an a non-tech space, and adds a layer of humanity to objects. She’s not from Silicon Valley, and I don’t believe she’s been featured in Fast Company. Bangalore-born Aparna Rao infuses technology with a sense of humor and humanity, letting us find our own meaning in inanimate objects such as a phone, a typewriter etc. The one on the left, for instance, was designed so that her uncle could send email, making him feel he was typing a normal letter on a piece of paper. But it gets funnier, and, deeper, such as when she uses a camera to make people disappear — the reverse of what we do now in our desire to put ourselves into every conceivable screen-captured image of life.
This is probably one of the best reasons why the arts –and the capital ‘A’– cannot ever reside outside the S-T-E-M areas everyone is so focused on.
This is the best example I’ve come across for encouraging schools to add some S-T-E-A-M!