Reinventing Myself for What?

Jan 24th, 2008 | By | Category: Blogging, Rants, Teaching, Technology
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tshirtI’ve been extremely busy lately reinventing myself. What exactly does that mean? Well, maybe reinventing isn’t the correct term. Maybe I’m recreating myself. Either way, it’s a lot of work.

People in education are always saying that the today’s students are the millennials, digital natives, born on technology and live on technology. Well, I’m here to say, it ain’t so. At least not my students. My students don’t have computers at home. They don’t text. They don’t chat. And email is not the necessity that it should be for a group that is touted as digital natives. I just don’t see it.

Here’s an example that really befuddles me – my own step son. Yep. He lives in my house and none of my techno savvy(ness) has rubbed off. How many 16 year olds do you know that don’t have a MySpace account? or an email address? I know; it’s unbelievable, but it’s true. Nada. I created an email account for him so he could use iTunes to buy music, but I’m pretty sure he’s never sent or received an email other than the iTunes Tuesday thingy that everyone gets. My bet is that his mail box is full of those. But I digress. What was this post about anyway?

Ah Yes, recreating me because my students just don’t get. I’ve been creating screencasts, podcasts and vodcast of my lectures and in class demonstrations, showing students how to do everything from check messages on the course network to how to do and upload an assignment. I can’t decide if this is a service or a disservice though. I mean I get the strangest questions from students.

Here’s what happened yesterday. I lectured for an hour about how to do the first two assignments. I walked them through the process of how to do it and how to use the technology  del.icio.us & Bedford Bibliographer). I mean I went through step by step. Then I showed them where the screencast was that would demonstrate the same principles in case they missed or forgot something – a recreation of me. Then today I get a phone call from a student who asked me two questions that were clearly explained in both the in class lecture and the screencast. Was she not listening? Was she even there? I had to ask. She said she was in class.

Sometimes I feel like I’m spoiling students by being too accommodating. Should I have responded that the student should go back and watch the screencast. I mean I did create it for that purpose. But I’m sure the problem is the technology. This student doesn’t have a computer at home. She can’t watch it. Others just don’t want to bother. It’s too complicated, so they say. I don’t have this or that. Digital natives my ass. I just don’t see it. At least not at my school. So I’ll just continue to recreate myself and hopefully someday those digital natives will show up and appreciate the effort I’ve made to create a technology rich environment in which to learn.

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