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The problem with nostalgia

Posted on: September 30, 2017

Earlier this week, I read about Nokia’s second swing of the bat with re-re-released 3310.

No, I did not have a spasm. Earlier this year, Nokia released a version of the 3310 based on the meme-worthy but defunct 3310.
 

 
This re-released version was updated for the early 21st century with colourful bodies and colour screens. However, it only supported 2.5G, which countries like Singapore phased out.

So Nokia will be releasing a 3310 3G model in October. They do this at a time when 4G is the norm and the rest of the world is looking forward to 5G.

The feature phone will be cheaper than current phones. It will have excellent battery life and it might be as indestructible as the original 3310.

Nostalgia is like grammar. It makes the past perfect and the present tense.

But Nokia is banking on the nostalgic, the collectors, and cheapskates (by choice or circumstance) to buy these phones. If it keeps trying to play catch up with a rapidly moving vehicle, it is going to be left behind again.

Yes, again. It did not take the smartphone movement seriously and plummeted off the market share chart. The world of commerce is cruel that way. The effects of a bad habit or a stubborn decision are felt quickly.

This is not the case in schooling and education where consequences of policies are felt decades or generations later. Right now we still have teachers with 3310 mindsets trying to operate in a 4G world. They do so by reshaping the new world to the old one that they are more comfortable with.

The problem with nostalgia is not just trying to live in the “good old days”. It is forcing the present to conform to the past. This results in complaints of the disconnected classroom and rhetorical calls to make schooling more authentic or “real world”.

The tension that teachers, students, and other stakeholders of schooling feel is a real one. The disconnect is exemplified by how most students are not allowed to use their phones in lessons and tests. In the “real world” we rely on our phones for both.

Such a tension has its roots in nostalgia and stubbornness. Such mindsets will not change with training or professional development that focuses on knowledge or skills. A mindset problem requires mindset solutions. All these solutions need to be built on this foundation.

Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.

3 Responses to "The problem with nostalgia"

Great article. The pic at the end and This passage sums it up for me: “Right now we still have teachers with 3310 mindsets trying to operate in a 4G world… reshaping the new world to the old one that they are more comfortable with.” Reminds me of the “getting out of comfort zone” discussion we had some time back. The

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