An article in the New York Times recently came out discussing the thoughts on e-mail as it relates to current college students. The article discusses the different perceptions of e-mail, concluding with students not being a fan and everyone else saying that it is a standard, yet continue to send messages that are not efficiently designed. While I think that many of us are using e-mail inefficiently, that is an entirely different discussion and blog post.
There are many gem quotes from those interviewed, including one person I look up to, Eric Stoller. For those that you do not know Eric, he consults colleges and universities on social media and communication. He first points out that perhaps that everyone has excessively large expectations of students when it comes to technology.
"We have this perception that because students are fluent with things like smartphones and downloading music that they are born with chips embedded in them that makes them technology wizards. They are no better at managing e-mail than anyone else." (Stoller, 2013)
Now, I agree with a lot of things Eric says. Not just this quote, but most of his Twitter keeps me motivated to keep exploring and writing (Thanks Eric!).
I do think that the expectations are set high of our incoming students. I think the bar is so high, that we in turn make assumptions that our students just know it. That is not a healthy habit to start/continue.
Assuming students just know technology is on the same level as saying that because we were surrounded by pencils, pens, markers, crayons, etc., that we are all writing wizards. Sure we could drag the pencil around on the piece of paper, table, wall, etc. and make scribbles, but we needed to learn how to write. Someone had to spend time and teach us to not only write, but understand what we were writing. All of a sudden, we were not only learning to write, but we were learning to read. Then someone spent time and taught us how to think about what we were reading and writing. Now it became a conversation of understanding or being literate.
Now, our smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc., are nothing more than fancy and expensive pencils and for the price tag we pay, it all does a little more than write. Sure we can scribble all over the internet, and we can think of a lot of examples of scribbling all over the internet. Do we have the understanding or is it all just scribbles on the wall? Are there people that are going to teach us how to "write"? Are we digitally literate?
I would be interested to look at the different perceptions of students using technology. More importantly, I want to know what students think. Do students know it as well as we think they do? Do they think we are making a lot of assumptions about them? Do they wish they had more lessons in using their technology?
Rubin, C. (2013, September 27). Technology and the college generation. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/fashion/technology-and-the-college-generation.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&smid=pl-share