Across generations and across continents from a corner desk

Photo: Larrie Wanberg Three screens allow one to watch a movie, tune in to breaking news, and check email, all at the same time.

Photo: Larrie Wanberg
Three screens allow one to watch a movie, tune in to breaking news, and check email, all at the same time.

Larrie Wanberg
Features Editor

Three screens on a corner desk help me—a great-grandfather—keep pace in my changing world across generations and keep in touch with my extended families, including my Norwegian brothers-in-law and their descendants, by preserving and exchanging digital stories worth sharing.

The tech tools available today offer me options and choices on how to engage with network communities as a digital citizen in a global society.

The following paragraphs highlight how one desktop with the use of wireless connectivity can stretch to do many more things with additional screens. These tools add up to the satisfaction of a lifelong distance learner (and college teacher for 50 years) who is cancer free after surgeries, though now-and-then housebound while recovering.

Exploring family genealogy and keeping in touch with three generations with stories of origins is a goal in upcoming months. Three screens, each with a different application, connect me with three choices of communication at different times or all at the same time. In genealogy, the focus is on the story of one event with extended family sharing how they remember the event or adding new information to the family history.

Experimenting gradually with a weekend time for exchanging generational stories and memories by connecting to my adult kids on the left screen, following along with my nine grandchildren and their adventures as travelers on the center screen, and watching the growth and activities of my eight great-grandchildren on the right screen with a webcam. Generational stories are on separate screens because of age-interest for sharing.

Entertainment and information gathering in leisure times allow me to watch a movie on the large screen, tune in to breaking news on the left screen, and view incoming email on the right screen, as illustrated in the photo.

Enterprise is generated on a fourth screen—a smart phone (iPhone 6+) that I carry in my shirt pocket, which can interact with my desktop wherever I can connect with Wi-Fi. This allows me to be more mobile as health restrictions improve in time. Wi-Fi is available most everywhere, and the cell phone provides voice and visual connectivity.

The iPhone 6+ has the computer capacity for producing, editing, and distributing short digital videos and films. Using online conferencing programs, the corner desk is interactive and enables the documentation of stories of family heritage—from origins in Norway to today’s conversations for future generations.

Technology enables us to try new ways to keep in touch, keeping pace with the world and producing stories worth sharing with my nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren as a legacy of their heritage.

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Larrie Wanberg

Larrie Wanberg, 1920–2021, contributed features to The Norwegian American for many years, drawing on eight decades of life experience highlighted by three career recognitions: as a researcher through a Fulbright Scholarship to Norway in 1957; as a health care provider in behavioral science through a 27-year military career and awarded upon retirement in 1981 the highest non-combat medal, the Legion of Merit medal; as an educator, through a 50-year career in college education, culminating in the 2010 Public Scholar award at the UND Center for Community Engagement. Wanberg passed away in May, 2021.