Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Keeping ahead of the students in technology

One word... Impossible.

I have taught an economic analysis class, building computer skills for three years now as part of our revised curriculum and have seen the students come each year with increasing sophistication. Building an Electronic Portfolio for assessing their progress through the course and the major is a critical part of the course. This year we are even trying a blog.

Now comes a Pew Internet and American Life Project, surveying 12 to 17 year old students, that says "(n)early three in five school-age teens with Internet access have created online content ... and about a fifth have their own blogs...." (Martha Irvine, Chicago (AP) Nov. 2 "Survey: One in Five Teens Have Own blogs.") Compare this to only seven percent of adults having their own blogs.

I can remember teaching in the same room to the same crowd of students year after year. In the beginning (about 1994) only one "geekish" student would admit to having ever been on the Internet, but by the end of that run of teaching assignments there would only be one or two students that had not been on the Internet. Now in 2004, given Internet access, twenty percent of students and only seven percent of adults have created blogs. Its happening again. We need to learn and keep up and explore how blogs and podcasts and the other fancy technology at the bleeding edge of our pedagogy can help our students learn and make us more efficient and effective guides.

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