Here’s something fun as the weekend approaches. BuzzFeed writer Brian Galindo has compiled a photo-list of “38 Things That Will Take ‘80s Kids Back To Their Elementary School Days.”
It includes pop-culture items such as Mr. T cereal, Scratch ‘N’ Sniff stickers, and that clunky first-generation spellchecker—the Speak & Spell from Texas Instruments.
And the list has lots of school objects that were emblematic of the decade (as well as a few that were around before the 1980s.) The ‘80s items include the Trapper Keeper line of notebooks, D.A.R.E. anti-drug posters and Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign, and an Apple IIe computer displaying “The Oregon Trail” game.
Some of the older items are the Sanford Giant pencil sharpener (which probably goes way back); the blue-inked Ditto machine; those brown and white Telex headphone sets used, as Galindo says, for hearing tests, but also for audio-based independent study programs; and the library card catalog.
Galindo identifies that picture as “the Dewey Decimal System,” which prompts a response in the comments section that while the card catalog is gone, the Dewey categorization system is “still very much alive.”
Another minor slip by Galindo is that one of his items is titled “Watching Filmstrips on One of These:", but the object is clearly a film projector, not a filmstrip projector. The latter had its own style and often came with LP records providing audio to match the slides. (It seems ludicrous now, of course, that some educational observers once fretted about the outsized influence of the Bell & Howell Co. on the classroom.)
Now, whose going to come up with the list of 38 artifacts from schools of the 1970s?
(Hat Tip to Hot for Education.)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.