Pretty soon, they won’t need me anymore

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That’s what I used to think.  You see, for the past 11 years I have taught an introductory course in computer science at a university.  In my class we talk about current technology issues in our society and how they feel about them.  And we also learn about the Microsoft Office Suite… Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  When I started teaching 11 years ago I thought that “pretty soon, there won’t be a need for me or this course.  Every student will already have these skills when they show up as freshmen at college.”  I can’t tell you how utterly wrong I was.

As it turns out, college students enter school with pitiful technology skills.  Apparently they aren’t given much opportunity in K-12 to learn the types of technology skills that can make their college academic experience easier and more productive.  Or maybe they just don’t have an interest in learning these things, so they don’t.  The vast majority of them know how to download music and videos, use Facebook, and use their cellphones, and that’s about it.

What is so sad about this is that when these students graduate and move out into the workplace, they will be required to use the tools that business, by and large, has embraced.  And that includes being able to create documents using the Office suite, and communicate and work together with their colleagues and peers.  They will have to know how to spell correctly.  They will need to use correct grammar.  They will have to know how to work together electronically and use proper business etiquette.  And I can tell you now… they don’t know to do any of that.  At least the majority don’t.  Even when they graduate.  I have many upperclassmen who come through my class who display utter incompetence to these things.  C’mon people, the red underline is pretty obvious, isn’t it??

I could go on all day about how ignorant they are at seeking out and recognizing valuable, reliable information that they find on the internet.  I could go on all day about how inept they are at just expressing in written form how they feel about something and being able to defend their point of view with actual facts.  And don’t even get me started on the atrocious spelling and grammar that I see daily.

But then again… maybe I am blowing this out of context.  I mean, when this generation grows up and takes over the world, then people like me who care about spelling and grammar and actually being able to write a coherent sentence won’t be of any consequence, right?  We’ll be in the minority.  Oh geesh.  I am depressed now.  I wonder if grandpa thought the same types of things about my generation??  Probably.

{ 1 comment }

Dave March 2, 2011 at 11:19 am

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