For my final reflection of the Oral History projects, I listened to three different student’s interviews with their parents. It was interesting to listen to the conversations they had about historical technology and how it has changed over the past decades.
The first audio story that I chose to listen to was from Ashley Cole. Ashley spoke with her dad about cellphones, which involved conversation about payphone and how when he was younger, he would have to take time out of his day to go check messages. Mr. Cole brought up some interesting points about different kinds of cellular devices that dated back to when he was younger. Ashley’s father is in his 50s, so the age difference between both Ashley and her father made for an interesting report because there have been so many advancements in technology since he was younger. Cellphone advancements in technology has changed Mr. Cole’s life and ours because society has gone from payphones, for example, to iPhones which has made communicating with others a lot faster and eliminates the need to go to a store just to get in contact with someone. This story is a good representation of oral history because Ashley focused her conversation on cellphones and how they have developed over the past 50+ years.
The second audio story that I listened to was from Tori Bredy. Tori focused on computer technology and interviewed her mother who is a teacher for an 8th grade classroom. When Mrs. Bredy began teaching, in 1979, technology was limited on the computers and did not have as many programs as we do now. The specific piece of technology that Tori focused on was a Chromebook and the programs that have advanced to make teaching easier. Computers back then were limited but now, most students have their own laptops that they can bring to class. The most interesting and relevant information that I found in this interview was how relatable it is. This is because when I was in middle school, there were more than enough computers for my classmates and I to use. I couldn’t imagine a learning environment where programs such as Adobe, which did not come out until 1982, 4 years after Tori’s mom began teaching. Since the 1980s, programs such as adobe and grading cites like Blackboard were limited. Microsoft was one of the biggest programs that were used before the 21st century. This is a good example of oral history because Tori and her mother talked about how computer programs, specifically, help Mrs. Bredy with her grading in her classroom.
The third audio story that I listened to came from Aidan Aumell. Aidan focused on cellphones and how they impacted his mother’s experience when she attended Washington State University. He focused on the value of receiving phone calls in the 80s verses the 21st century. One good question that he asked was “how did you know who was calling you on a landline.” This was an interesting question because now, our cellphones tell us exactly who is calling, regardless of if the phone number is in the contacts app or not. It was hard to focus on the main topic of this conversation in this interview because it felt repetitive and didn’t go into a lot of depth about cellphones; it mainly focused on WSU and how phones impacted different aspects of Mrs. Aumell’s life. I do not believe that this is a very good example of oral history because Aidan mainly focused on the past and cellular technology in a broad aspect. I wish I would have heard how Aumell’s experience with cellphones has changed over the years since she was at WSU. Instead, the focus was mainly about communication between Mrs. Aumell and her friends and how they communicated (letters, landlines, cellphones, etc.) I would have loved to hear more about the specific phones she used then and now.
After listening to these projects, I gained a greater knowledge as to how specific technology has changed over the decades (cellphones and computer programs). My favorite aspect of these Oral History projects were to hear the emotions that the parents expressed when reminiscing in the technology that they used before the advancements made.