Are all college students digitally literate? The fact is, students are all different and come to us with different skill sets. Some students may enter the freshman year with tons of technology experience. Other students may have little to no experience.
We often stereotype college students as digitally literate, but I have found that this simply isn’t true. And that surprised me! The first year I taught my college course, I “assumed” that the students were more digitally aware than they actually were. I thought they knew how to accurately cite sources, use APA formatting, create a Google Doc, create a video and a blog post. In fact, my first lesson required students to create a short 2-3 minute video introducing themselves to the class in a creative manner and then upload the video to the class blog to share. I had to step back and re-examine my assignments in light of my new discoveries regarding student culture.
Although students may have a smartphone, tablet, and computer, it doesn’t mean they know how to effectively use them for education. Any technology assignment given should be scaffolded with easy, digestible steps and thoroughly explained. If you find that your students comprehend and understand quickly – great! Keep moving forward! If not, either teach your students what they need to know or provide them with the resources necessary to gather the information.
I tell my students, “Google is your friend.” I say the same thing to you. Want to find extra resources for your students? Need to send them a video explaining APA formatting? Google it. I’m sure you’ll find one. Want your students to collaborate using Google Docs and don’t want to take the time to explain how in class? Google it. Google provides many great training videos. You can always use Screencast-o-matic or a similar program to record your own video for your students.
Just remember, take the time to make sure your students know “how” if you are going to require technology with your assignment.