This is an interesting:
Eszter Hargittai, an assistant professor in Northwestern University’s sociology department, has discovered that students aren’t nearly as Web-savvy as they, or their elders, assume.
Ms. Hargittai studies the technological fluency of college freshmen. She found that they lack a basic understanding of such terms as BCC (blind copy on e-mail), podcasting, and phishing. This spring she will start a national poster-and-video contest to promote Web-related skills.
Eszter goes on to explain her study and its results. I found the comments as interesting as the interview itself. One comment in particular made me laugh:
Finally someone says it. We listen ad nauseam to administrators and journalists blather about tech in the classroom and this generation’s web-and-computer savvy. Bollocks. My students (at an R-1) have had enormous difficulty posting documents to Blackboard and WebCT; don’t know how to use a program’s tutorial; don’t know how to save documents in different file formats than the default; don’t realize they can discover basic information about our university (e.g. a phone directory, a registration calendar) through our webpage. They are as tech savvy as they are anything-else savvy: not so much, unfortunately.
Here’s my question – the first time you tried to use Blackboard or WebCT were you able to post info to it? As a very web-savvy person I have to say that Blackboard at least (since I never had to use WebCT) is one of the most user-unfriendly tools I’ve ever had to use. Do not use Blackboard as a measure of your students web savviness. Also – I’m really glad I didn’t have this person as one of my professors. How can any instructor be so negative about their students? If you think they know nothing then how can you teach them effectively?
All that said – I agree with the studies results. I found it interesting that my sister who recently finished college didn’t know about things that are part of my everyday web life – RSS, Blogs, etc. We should never make assumptions about our students/audience. We should always start at the beginning – as educators it’s our jobs to teach students about these tools and how they can be used in the professional world.