What I hate is the expression “digital natives.” The fucker who came up with it probably never meets any actual human beings. Idiot.
Kids These Days probably aren’t any worse with computers than their predecessors, but if we go beyond facility with (some features of) social media and games, they don’t seem to be any more tech-savvy than any other generation. Try getting them to figure out features of a professional simulation package and they are at least as scared as their predecessors. Like every other generation, they need to learn, and it’s a process that happens overnight. But people looking to sell something or make themselves feel important go on about their Grand Insights into this generation of alleged “Digital Natives.”
I hate that too. Some of them are completely hopeless with anything other than a smart phone. Though I am having a good experience with one group this fall. We’ve been using online homework systems for about ten years. My feelings about the online system are mixed, some things work well, other things were better in the pre-digital age. But this semester, I have for the first time EVER had a class of students who all got themselves enrolled in the online system and figured out how to use it with no huge problems or need for excessive explanations and interventions from me.
One might think that this is a sign of some digital tipping point, but I think I just lucked out and got an usually diligent group of students. They all come to class every day, they send me polite e-mails with reasonable excuses and apologies when they can’t come to class, they all do their homework, they raise their hands and volunteer to answer questions, and they do their partner and group work without the least bit of hesitation or complaint. They aren’t brilliant, but they are all very responsible and dutiful. I’m worried that I will be completely spoiled by the end of this semester.
I keep wanting to ask if you are on something because this sounds like too much of a fantasy. 🙂
Good for you, really!
Well, that’s my language class and it’s pretty nice in there. I’m also teaching a general education class in English that is going OK, but they are not very talkative. I suspect some are skimming rather than reading the assignments. There also seems to be a textbook war brewing in my department and I fear I’m going to wind up right I the middle of it. There is a faction that wants to change books ASAP and a faction that thinks it’s way too much work to switch books, so it’s totally out of the question. I think we should have a look around to see if there are better options, but we need to make sure that we only switch if we find something that is actually an improvement, sometimes switching is just trading on set of problems for another.
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