This video is incredible- because it illustrates how quickly the world has changed in the 20th Century. Dial tone phones are of course now a thing of the past. In the 1930s when this video was made, in the UK there were still single numbers- London 1 etc- telephones had just exploded to becoming a consumer product, like the internet of today. Phones have of course become a standard consumer product- about possibly to be replaced by Skype and other things like it.
But they have done so incredibly quickly- the pace of technological development means that the lives that we live today in so many aspects- including the one I'm typing on to you now and the fact you are reading this online- would have been unrecognisable to our parents, let alone our grandparents when they were growing up. Someone who was born in 1920 will have lived through the rise of the car, the rise of the washing machine, the rise of the computer and the rise of the internet. Just think about that for a moment- and one of the central differences between our century and the past becomes clear. A medieval peasant could say between 1200 and 1400 be pretty confident that though there were changes in the way he farmed, his grandparents would understand them. For us though, how would you explain to your great grandparents (who as mine did died at some point before the second world war) how the internet works. Just imagine for a second how much change, if the girl in the video is still alive (and probably in her late seventies, early eighties now) she has seen.
Its an interesting thing to think about: because coping with technological change has suddenly become so much more important. Kids do because they are born to an era with the current systems: but for the rest of us, the fact that we learn so much when we are children is no longer adequate. We have to keep learning as adults just in order to keep up with the ways that communication and life are changing- that produces the stress of adults who have to learn how to program Sky Plus (Tivo for Americans) and work out HTML.
The world is changing and that means that we have to change the way that we learn- its no longer ok just to learn as a kid, welcome to the world which changes so fast that even adults are ignorant.