Our Deepest Fear & An Unexpected Outcome

Personal Dynamic Media by Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg, 1977

On one level, the reading left me thinking: these authors are truly smart, imaginative. Even though many of the things they are describing are actually functioning now in computer systems, I enjoyed reading their almost laborious descriptions of the functions. From the mundane editing and filing functions to the more advanced music production and medical records management is described.

On another level, I kept wondering: who are these teenagers programming these seemingly wonderful and complicated things using this device in the late 70s? I know the authors’ goal was to have the computer functions used by children but to hear of actual functions that were not only being used by children but, in a few examples, designed by teenagers was incredible and unexpected. Where are these former young designers today? What are their professions? They would be in their 50s today.

And on a final level, I am completely inspired. At one point while I was reading, I gently whispered under my breath: where are my opportunities to apply such imagination? As I develop as a scholar and seek to pose and investigate research questions of interest to me, I wonder what creative approaches I can apply that would revolutionize my field. I decided to read again Marianne Williamson’s poem/quote/excerpt entitled “Our Deepest Fear” for inspiration and to support the whisper. Re-energized now about students’ development of social sustainability and other valued professional competencies. An unexpected outcome from a reading on new media.

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