ThatCamp Philadelphia: Working With Students Who Have Low Technology Skills

After my initial panel proposal was accepted, I ran this panel on working with students who have low technology skills as the opening panel for ThatCamp Philadelphia. I wanted to run this panel because this is an issue I deal with on a day to day basis and I am always trying to find new ways to initiate learning for my students. Technology skills are extremely important in this job market, so I really stress them in my classes.

Janine Utell took notes for this panel as well.

  • Digital citizenship is important. Not just for student work, but also for the job force (applications, etc)
  • Many participants noted that their students had a hard time interpreting what they found online. An example given a lot was clicking on “sponsored links” on a Google search.
  • Some schools offer a one credit technology course (that can be tested out of by students)
  • Library sessions are helpful, but more time needs to be spent on evaluating sources
  • This whole “digital natives” thing is nonsense. Many students don’t even know how to use ctrl-f!
  • Solutions to this need to come from the curriculum side, not just the classroom
  • An issue brought up, and I have heard this from students, is going from high tech classes back to really analog ones
  • A list needs to be made, on a school by school basis, of what students need to know for composition level technology skills
  • A big requirement that should be built into school handbooks is mandating that they check their email
  • There should be “technology across the curriculum” ala writing across the curriculum
  • An idea Sherrie Block and I have talked about here at BCC is doing workshops for students on a monthly basis.
  • There was a large concern in the room to not just outsource all of this to the library
  • I require my students to send me an email from their BCC email to prove they can open it and that it works. I use this for their first quiz grade
  • Another great idea that happens in my classes anyway is to have high tech students team up with low tech students
  • Walmart has computer only applications now. If you can’t figure it out, you can’t apply
  • New Jersey does have a K-12 information literary requirement according to Deb Gussman
  • There needs to be outreach to local principals/superintendents
  • Have students do a tech survey on their way into college
  • Gussman gives her online students a list of what they need to know before taking the class
  • I’ve introduced Zotero to my sophomores in the past
  • An idea I had was to have to students put programs like Zotero, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc on a flash drive using Portable Apps
  • Students absolutely need to learn how to cite before being allowed to use Easybib, Zotero, Moodle, etc
  • As Deb Gussman points out, Easybib, Zotero, Evernote and others output errors sometimes
  • An idea Utell had was to do coffee sessions with faculty who could be allies

There are so many great ideas here. I am forwarding this post to my Dean and program director because there is so much we could implement into our program.