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Generation X and the Technology Leap

When I was in the 11th grade, I had to do a term paper for my American history class.  It
was my first true research paper.  I spent hours in the school and town libraries, developing a thesis question, looking up books in card catalogs, using the microfiche machine to find relevant articles, index cards and books scattered over the table.  Then, utilizing the typing skills I learned in the 10th grade, I typed out my paper on an electric typewriter with correction tape that never quite covered up the typo you had made.

I graduated from high school in 1989.  Through my undergraduate years in college, I saw word processor programs take over the typewriters and electronic catalogs replacing the card catalogs.  As I entered graduate school in the fall of 1995, the internet had replaced the long nights in the library with long nights in the apartment. 

This past fall, I took a history class for the first time in many years.  I was amazed at the ease of
finding information for my term paper.  The ability to take my mobile sources with me to almost every location (including across the Atlantic in England) was so convenient.   All of this has made me think about how my generation, Generation X, now middle aged, has seen a dramatic leap in technology during their lifetime. 

Today, one doesn’t have to step one foot into a classroom to earn a college degree (although, for me a professor standing in the front of the lecture hall is still my preferred learning style…call me old
fashioned).  Online degree programs are the hottest thing now in higher education.  Young, middle aged and older adults are attracted to these programs because of they make it easy to obtain a degree that fits their daily schedule.