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I tend to assume that students have strong skills with digital technologies based simply on their age. But I’m learning each semester that just because students are part of the digital generation doesn’t mean that they have some basic technological literacy skills. For example, every semester I am surprised at the number of students who don’t know how to double space a document in a word processor.  Instead, they type up the paper, then go back and hit return at the end of each line. However, since I collect work electronically (and probably since I use a Mac), the document that comes to me is rather messy. Similarly, students don’t seem to know about headers or footers or hanging indents for MLA citations. I’ve stopped assuming what my students know about technology. Instead, I’m taking the time to show them the necessary features. It helps the—and makes my life easier. Are any of you finding that students don’t have all the technological skills we generally assume they have?
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.