6 Things of the 21st Century that Students of the 80s Wish They Had


The leap in technological advancements and cultural shifts from the 1980s to the 21st century has transformed the landscape of education and student life. Reflecting on this transformation, it's intriguing to imagine what students from the 80s might envy about today's student experience. Here are six innovations and cultural shifts that would have been game-changers for students of the 80s.

1. Smartphones and Mobile Apps

In the 1980s, the idea of a compact device capable of making calls, accessing the internet, taking photos, and managing a calendar was the stuff of science fiction. Smartphones and their myriad mobile apps have revolutionized communication and learning. Students of the 80s would have marveled at the ability to look up information instantly, use educational apps for interactive learning, and organize their academic and personal lives in one place. The convenience and efficiency brought by smartphones would have been a significant boon, eliminating countless hours spent in libraries and facilitating instant connectivity with peers and educators. 

2. Online Learning Platforms and Resources

The digital revolution has democratized access to education through online learning platforms and resources. In the 80s, learning was confined to classrooms and textbooks. Today, modern students can get books, tutoring services, and cheap law essay writing help online. Platforms like Coursera, Khan Academy, and YouTube offer free and premium courses on everything from quantum physics to digital marketing. This global classroom not only expands access to education but also caters to diverse learning styles and paces, something students of the 80s could only have wished for.

3. Social Media and Networking

Social media and networking platforms have transformed how students connect, share, and collaborate. Building a global network from one's dorm room, sharing ideas with peers worldwide, and accessing a wealth of resources and opportunities online would have seemed unimaginable to students of the 80s. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter enhance social connectivity and play crucial roles in professional networking, research, and the dissemination of ideas.

4. Cloud Computing and Storage

Gone are the days of floppy disks and hard copies as the primary means of storing and submitting assignments. Cloud computing and storage solutions like Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive allow students to save, access, and share their work from anywhere, on any device. This shift to digital has streamlined the submission process, facilitated group projects, and provided a safety net against lost or damaged physical documents, a common plight for students in the 80s.

5. Portable Computing Devices

The evolution of portable computing devices, including laptops, tablets, and e-readers, has made the backpacks of today's students significantly lighter. In the 80s, personal computing was in its infancy, with bulky desktops that were anything but portable. The ability to carry a powerful computer or an entire library of textbooks in a slim, lightweight device would have been a dream for students who previously relied on public computer labs and heavy textbooks.

6. Payment and Financial Management Apps

Managing finances has traditionally been a challenge for students, but the advent of payment and financial management apps has simplified this aspect of student life. Apps like Venmo, PayPal, and various budgeting apps allow easy expense tracking, splitting bills, and sending or receiving money instantly. This level of financial management and convenience would have significantly eased the lives of students in the 80s, who dealt with cash, cheques, and manual balancing of books.


Reflecting on these advancements, it's clear that the student experience has been profoundly transformed over the past few decades. While students of the 80s had unique experiences and breakthroughs, today's tools and opportunities offer unparalleled convenience, connectivity, and access to information. These six innovations highlight the leaps in technology and culture that have reshaped education, making it an exciting time to be a student in the 21st century.
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