Reflections on students and digital technology

Blue bar

4 April 2013: Ron Tanner, The Myth of the Tech-Savvy Student. From way back in 2011, this article still makes a lot of sense. Online gaming does not equal computer competent. "Apparently many professors believe that students' ownership of laptops and notebook computers guarantees that they will learn all they need to know about computers. But who is teaching students how to write, say, a marketing report or a historical overview for an online readership? I am surprised at the number of my colleagues who prohibit the use of computers in their classrooms because they fear that students will surf the Web during a lecture. An absence of computers in the classroom sends the message that computers are ancillary to learning."

15 March 2013: I am starting to see some really good digital assignments from students scattered across my different classes, but this certainly is not yet a "digital" generation. That might be another ten years away. Maybe if I used more "texting" options in my courses, then they would all ace the courses.

3 October 2012: If they could only read! I wonder if the digital stuff is giving them a shortcut to avoid any kind of meaningful reading. Try listening to your students read out loud in class (something that I think that never goes on anywhere in the educational system from 2nd grade on anymore, but it is a good way to quickly get a sense of your students' reading skills), it is just terrible hearing them struggle over rather simple vocabulary. Maybe there is some kind of app to quickly assess reading skill.

I've also thought that while I've replaced quite a few traditional writing assignments in the course with alternative kinds of assignments, the problem with having these being done in class is that students do not actually prepare to do them in class. In other words, students don't do the necessary background work to be prepared to work on something in class. They just show up without a clue of what will be done in class. I should have know better and designed some options so that students come to class with some work having been accomplished. For example, on my Louis XIV clip, I think that I might have had them view the clip and then complete their questions before class. Then I could have verified that they did the work before resuming class discussion in class. Same deal with the newspaper fragments. II think that these two exercises, in particular, are good candidates for developing into some kind of app. Maybe it will turn out that every week of the course has some kind of app.

I've also decided that I should have scattered the student presentations throughout the course. I have no idea why I choose to put them all in only two course weeks.

18 October: See my last two posts on my progress record re some limitations on the use of smartphones in classes. I find less problems with the Ipad, but there is the issue of a lack of a keyboard on an ipad, which makes typing a bit of a chore.