All students at UW-Stout are given a laptop and (seemingly) no preliminary briefing on the course management software, which means it’s up to individual instructors to talk them through menus and screenshots. That’s fine by me b/c I like to limit the technology I ask students to use their first semester; however, I have been surprised that the so-called savvy they apparently have from Facebook doesn’t cross over into the classroom. There is a true disconnect, most likely because social networking sites spoonfeed their users with code, widgets, tabs, and drop-down menus while I’m asking them to compose and reflect.
For instance, they all tags photos and shares links in FB. But asking students to insert links into their discussion board posts [not just the URL, but actually highlighting the word, clicking on the link icon, pasting the link there, etc.] and getting them to understand the value of tags on social bookmarking sites like delicious has elicited more confused looks than I ever expected.
Still, it’s all about practice these first couple of weeks (believe me I’m still struggling with my own crossover from Blackboard to DesireToLearn), so it will be exciting to read their tech literacy journals [which I may ask them to log at Twitter, but more on that later] at the end of the semester to see what progress they’ve made.