December Post Marks 10 Years

……….In order to officially make it to ten years of writing on this blog, I have to get in at least one more post, and it has to be done this month. It is Sunday, Christmas Eve, 2017 when I start writing this (I won’t be finished tonight). I am home on vacation from a job I still enjoy (most days), with a family I treasure (beyond measure), in a house I purchased nearly twenty years ago with the best friend I have ever had (… I’m the pain in her sash). Those are about the only things that haven’t changed in the world around me since I first started sharing my thoughts and discoveries on this blog ten years ago.

……….A decade is a long time when you really think about it. Ten years ago, I was just entering my forties, the father of two young boys, ages 3 and 7. Back then, I was thinking more about after school meals and activities, than making college visits or having “the talk”. A lot has changed in the world in those intervening 3,652 days. It often happens so slowly, so incrementally, that we barely take notice. Until we stop … and take notice. Below you will find a table comparing a few things that popped into my mind.

2007 2017 % Change
World Population 6.6 Billion 7.6 Billion +15%
Tallest Building Taipei 101, 509m Burj Khalifa, 828m +63%
Price of Gas $3.38 $2.49   -26%
Avg Red Sox Tix $47.71 $54.79 +15%
Median Home           sold in Nov. $249,100 $318,700 +28%
Ounce of Gold $630 $1278.10 +103%
Tuition at Harvard $30,122 $44,990 +49%
Largest Company,     Sales Revenue Walmart, $351B Walmart, $485B +38%
Median Household Income $50,823 $59,039 +16%
Federal Minimum  Wage per Hour $5.85 $7.25 +24%
MSRP Honda       Accord EX $23,145 $30,860 +33%
Wealthiest person Bill Gates, $56B Jeff Bezos, $100.3B +79%
Number of iPhones sold 1.39 M 216.76 M +15490%

……….A lot of things have changed that can’t be measured in terms of money (but still will be by someone, somewhere). I placed the iPhone last on this list intentionally for two reasons. First, 2007 was the year that it was launched and immediately it was hailed as a revolutionary item. Second, even though it wasn’t the first smart phone, Apple’s contribution to the marketplace forever altered our world in ways big and small, good and bad. After the iPhone, no longer were our phones, just our phones … now they were packed with connections to the world, loaded with tools like cameras for video and still shots, teeming with little distractions like puzzles, games and twitter feeds. More than almost anything else that has changed in the last ten years, is the impact that has been made by iPhone and its many competitors on our daily lives, especially in school.

……….When I first started in education, portable phones didn’t exist. When mobile phone began appearing in the late 1990s, most people couldn’t afford one. In the early 2000s, the first affordable cell phones started showing up and our war in the schools against these intrusive items began. In the very beginning, I remember that our school policy was clear that students couldn’t bring their personal electronic devices to school. Back then, you needed a camera for pictures, a video recorder for movies, a music player and headphones for your tunes, a gaming device and a phone. These were all separate items and it was understood that these things were mostly meant for entertainment, and served as a distraction to our students. But little by little we changed our minds (or was it changed for us) and we moved from encouraging students to leaving their devices at home, to allowing them to walk around with one earphone in.

……….As a librarian, I am against most things that discourage you from reading, and by reading I mean long form reading. Having your personal electronic device with you makes it really easy to find a dozen things to do other than read a book. Just having it near you may actually cause you stress. And yes, of course, I understand all the arguments in favor of having your smartphones with you (I wrote about it in 2013), I am not arguing in favor of a zero-tolerance policy. I just wish there was an easy way to convince people to turn off their phones for the school/work day, and when they find themselves with some “free” time, read a book.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

Thank you to everyone to who has stopped by since 2007. I know you are out there.


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2017. All rights reserved


About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
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