Letters to my digital native children: looking up information

"Who created Paw Patrol"
"How long do you need to fly to this planet?"
"What's the name of this flower? Can you eat it?"

The children can come up with the most incredible questions and then their question is followed with the instruction "You have to look it up on your phone." It is obvious for them that I can quickly type a question and give them the answer from my phone. The world world's knowledge at their hands through my phone. 

It's hard to imagine for them we didn't grow up with smartphones and internet full of information. So how did we look up answers? It sure wasn't so quick as now and often not as much in depth...yet we didn't flood in a mass of doubtfull sources either. 

So let me think back how I found out answers to my questions and learned about subjects to prepare papers in school or so. 


In the living room there was a bookrack with 23 volumes of an encyclopedia as well as a big atlas. They gave us general introductions to all kinds of topics. The books were classed alphabetically and you could find some information on a panter as well as the country Argentina or the philosopher Erasmus.  It was really a concise printed Wikipedia. 


in the city library we could find more encyclopedia but also books on specific topics. So if we had to make a school work on something, we actually had to go and do research in the library and borrow books to take them home. (so we had to hope also that we'd not all have to work on the same subject in school at the same time. 


My parents had a subscription to a weekly magazine Knack which he stored in the basement for years and years since my sister had been able to use the old articles on her final paper in high school (on the Ortega's in Nicaragua). 

Equally we got the quarterly publicity magazine for Bakker-Belgie.com  where I've cut out so many sheets with tomato pictures of apples or some flowerly shrub or whatever.  I don't remember why I used them but I do remember using the cut out images multiple times for school work. 

So conclusion: any magazines could come in handy and had to be stored.  By the end of my adolescence we made of our heart a stone and we did throw up many boxes of old magazines out of the basement.  Thank goodness. 

Artis Historia

All my childhood I was collecting "Artis" points that were on many food packaging.   Pudding cardboards, pasta boxes, chips bags, some magazines, ... had these points sign on them.  Each time we consumed something with a point on it, we had to cut it out.   I kept boxes with points in it...hundreds of cut out papers or cardboard pieces. 

And when the box was quite filled up, we started counting and filling in in a big envelop because we could get a new book.  It was a big book with the pictures that came along in an envelop and you had to glue them in yourself. It was an entire project on its own. Well I guess you could get the pictures for free with the points and had to buy the book.  

We had a library of books about animals, countries etc etc... Those books have been my most useful sources for lectures or papers in school that were most of the time either about an animal or about a country. 


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