Digital Divide: Confronting Assumptions at Computers & Writing 2009

Matt Moberly

confronting assumptions and looking at realities regarding technology

I hear a lot on IWPA “Use technology.” All majors are supposed to have an online component at our university.

Would that work? Is there a desire for this?

I stumbled upon Pew Research on teen tech use. Pew Internet and American LIfe study

The high tech view did not sound like my students.

Why? What about our students at CSU, Stanislaus?

Brainstorming activity
What are the assumptions we have heard regarding students and technology?

what are other assumptions? everyone knows computers. everyone owns computers. everyone can print from home or has plenty of money to print. They text, therefore they compute.

Our group’s ideas
Just because they are surfing, doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention.
Not everyone owns a laptop.
Just because they can text doesn’t mean they are very familiar with computers.

Other groups’ ideas
They text, but don’t check their email.
Everyone knows Powerpoint.
Everyone understands how to integrate visual rhetoric.
They know more than we are, but that we are more analytical.
They learn the technology faster.

Top 5 Assumptions
Students are all connected, have access.
Seamless transfer between social networking and course mgmt software.
Students all know formatting skills.
Students want online components.
Classroom activities transition to online realms easily.

Thinking about these
That’s how my first two semesters of class were. Because I made those assumptions.

California Emerging Technology Fund
Produce annual reports
interesting tidbits from 2009 annual report:
Nationally 74% of Americans use computers.
Within California 75%.
Latino 58% in California.
Rural 66% in California.

Nationally 73% used internet
70% of Californians
48% of Latinos
63% of rural

Nationally 64% have internet access at home
63% of Californians
40% of Latinos
58% of rural

Students at Stanislaus are Latino, rural. “little black hole”

13 million people in California do not have internet at home.

When I assigned online work, they couldn’t do it. They had to be late with those assignments.

How does this effect what we do in the comp classroom?

Asked dept to make my courses hybrid. Not half and half. But I had two days in a computer lab and one day in a traditional classroom.

I had never taught in a computer lab.

Didn’t work with how I usually work with collaborating.

I was able to walk them through stages in class.

Made classroom experience better. Addressed how to do headers, add page numbers, etc.

Gave them 5 to 10 minutes to use computers for other classwork.

I thought it was really important that they had access to computers and that I was there to walk them through it.

Technology surveys

I started giving these at the beginning of the semester.

I went in assuming they were going to be blogging. Etc.

Survey available from Matt.

Asked students about internet at home, technologies they use regularly.

Using that, I can see what I need to cover. Useful tool.

What I want you to take away

Most student populations have this information on them. Might be eye-opening.

Best info is from student technology surveys.

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