If I had to summarize quickly, I'd say that doing career studies in a hybrid elearning class was very useful. Students assume they know more about computers than they actually do (partly due to the fact that we keep telling them that they are digital natives). Doing elearning in a hybrid/introductory way does several things:
This broke the myth of the digital native for me. When I asked them to estimate their own expertise on computers, I (like most others) expected this:
|The FAKE stat.|
|The real stat.|
This elearning course, the first for all of these students, pointed out a number of challenges:
- it makes students aware of how little they know about basic computer functionality (file types and organization, how to edit simple documents, basic network and computer operation, online digital tools that are available - not one of them had heard of Prezi or knew that their hotmail accounts would allow them to save documents online). Less than 1/4 had ever used googledocs.
- it makes those students that do have technical literacy appreciate (and be appreciated for) what they know (instead of telling them that they all know it because they are teenagers, when they clearly don't, which devalues the knowledge). Student tech-wizes are as rare as tech-wizes in the general population, but we belittle their knowledge by assuming they all 'know computers'.
- it gives students a fundamental understanding of the elearning system. A few will see it as an avenue for success (which is good), but many who suddenly find they may need elearning to graduate will see far greater success because of their exposure here.
Unless we're going to focus on developing self-directed learning and digital competencies in non-academic classrooms it will continue this way.
A student's ability to organize becomes much weaker when I would find the vast majority of the machines a student brought to me with a problem running Facebook in the background (it's hard to stay organized, it's harder to stay organized when facebook constantly interrupts you with pointless trivia).
I suspect the real dividing line now is purely financial, which begs the question: when are we going to support students in getting over the digital divide?
Whether it's how we've taught them to be dependent or how we've taught them to be terrified of errors, we aren't producing self-directed learners, which is a tragedy.
The course would have been better served by a device that rotates for reading longways, then rotates back for data entry (or a big square screen, I guess).