As a child in the fifties, I loved to read our old and tattered, dark green covered The Book of Knowledge. My mother had read it cover-to-cover when she was a child so it dated back to the 1930s. My parents bought a new set some time in the fifties and my husband and I followed suit in the seventies. We were high school teachers and loved the feel and look of the books on their special bookcase just as much as the wealth of information inside. Those books were a wonderful source for our lesson plans.
Until the computer came along, that is. Oh, there were a few years of Pong and Backgammon, but soon enough our computer became the place where we prepared lessons, composed examinations, wrote essays for upgrading courses, emailed other forward-thinking friends with computers, and gradually moved into doing all our research via the Internet. The dusty encyclopedias went in a garage sale.
Today we have thoroughly embraced the technology all around us. We each have two computers in our offices, I have an iPad2, a Flip camera and a new iPhone, and we watch Apple TV at night, having upgraded from a PVR. The couple who paid $1200 for our first absolutely-new-technology-VCR, we have come a long techie way.
From the encyclopedias of old, we have moved to the Internet where almost any subject can be found. Of course we must use caution as sources are not always as true as we might hope, but for the most part, the Internet is the resource of choice for most of our tech world. I love Wikipedia and have found it clear, concise and full of many links to further information on any subject.
Sitting st my desk, on the Internet, I have done much of my historical research for my novel, whether it be finding factual information or the whereabouts of said information. And the Internet has led me to some fine leg searches over New York State and Ontario. Emails to forts and museums ahead of time have worked well, too.
While I know there is a downside to the Internet, my experience has been totally positive. Why, today in a restaurant, I used my phone app to find the name of the pretty little village just north of Port Huron, which my partner and I were discussing. And my 3G iPhone can get me on the Internet almost anywhere. Think of it! This little hot-pink covered gadget is my gateway to the whole Internet AND to anyone in the world I care to dial. The concept of an encyclopedia has sky-rocketed into the clouds!