Annals in Entrepreneurship Education series
Edited by Michael H. Morris
Chapter 3: From tablet and stylus to tablet and stylus: an almost 6,000 year revolution in technology for teaching and learning
In the era of the iPad, it is sometimes easy to forget that Apple didn’t invent the ‘tablet’ and that the ‘stylus’ wasn’t always a fabric-tipped writing accessory. In fact, the tablet in its earliest incarnation – as a wax or clay writing surface first seen in ancient Greece – was among the earliest innovations to revolutionize the sharing of information. And the ‘stylus’, dating back to earliest Mesopotamia, was the first writing implement deployed for tablet use. Today, as these words re-enter into everyday language, it is striking to note how very ‘new’ the words seem. They describe items of similar general size and similar general purpose to those described many thousands of years ago; they also, however, describe items representative of immense and contemporary difference and change. As a repository of information, the earliest tablet could hold perhaps a few hundred words and pictures – for highly localized usage and display. Today’s tablet can hold, directly or through network connections, an almost unfathomable amount of data – for widely distributed usage and display. And today’s stylus, while much less evolved than the tablet, helps to document and share these data instantaneously. What are the educational implications of this sort of technological advancement? More specifically, what are the implications for entrepreneurship education? We take as our starting point not the tablet and stylus themselves, but the changes that their lexical re-emergence signify in the modern day.
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