24 September 2010


My American Literature students have been in the computer lab for the past two days completing their initial drafts of their first writing assignment.  As I was circulating the classroom today, monitoring their progress as they were getting started, I paused at one student's computer, seeing a quick fix that I wanted to address. The following conversation ensued.

Me: Hey, student, I notice a change I'd like you to make. Your MLA formatting is a little off. Remember, correct MLA format is a requirement of the assignment.

Student: Oh, yeah, I know. I just noticed that, too. It's a little messed up because I typed it on my iPod last night. 

Me: (taking pause) Oh? You typed it on your iPod? Wow. I'm impressed.

Student: (looking confused) Really? Didn't you know you could do that on the iPod Touch? I do it all the time. I just use the Notes app.

Me: Well, yeah. I mean, I've used the Notes app on mine before. But not like that. I give you a lot of credit for typing all two pages of your draft using that. 

Student: Oh, gotcha. Yeah, I was just adding stuff as I had ideas throughout the day, and then I emailed it to myself so that I could paste it into Word today when we got here.

Me: Well, I'm glad that you were able to do that. It looks like you're almost done. Make sure you fix that formatting before you print. Do you need help?

Student: Nah. You're talking about this part here and here, right? (I nodded.) Okay, I know how to fix it. Thanks, Ms. K! 

Later, with about five minutes left in the hour, another student politely asked if, since he was done with his draft, I would mind if he got on Excel to make some changes to a spreadsheet. Here's that conversation:

Me: Is it school-related? If so, that's fine. If not, I'd rather you don't.

Student: Yes, it's school-related. It's for school organization XYZ.

Me: Okay. But only because you're done with your work, and we only have about five minutes left.

I hovered for a moment to make sure that his intentions were good, and when he pulled up the obviously school-related spreadsheet, I was blown away. It was elaborately hyper-linked and organized. Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate Excel, mostly because I am inept, but that I am in awe of anyone who is adept with the program.

Me: What is that

Student: Oh, it's my spreadsheet for member activities. I have everyone's name hyper-linked to this (and he starts clicking around furiously, showing me all of his hard work) and that's hyper-linked to this to track this, which reports to this chart, and that's hyper-linked to this...

Me: Wow. That's impressive. They're lucky to have you! Excuse me, though, I have to give everyone final directions. And my head hurts just thinking about all of that hyper-linking.

I'm utterly baffled by how tech-savvy my students are. I don't know why. I mean, the amount of instructional technology I have available to me in my classroom is vast, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my students are doing things like this. It makes me wonder what's coming next. I've just figured out how to use my SMART board. I know my students are ready for a classroom like this:

But am I?


Sarah said...

"But am I?" Haha! That's the real question :). I'm 28 and I feel like I grew up in the right era to consider myself tech-savvy, but I have to admit this younger generation is blowing me away!

And Excel has always baffled me too.

http://dkzody.wordpress.com said...

What wonderful sounding students you have. So capable of doing things on their own. And if they have the technology, they are even more fortunate. As are you to have them. Enjoy.