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?