So here I sit, watching my class work on an imperialism webquest.  Yes, I am being bad and not watching their every move.   They’re a good class – a great class, actually.  And considering its the last class before a day off, they are being rather productive.  I’m pretty sure they are not going to finish by the bell, so I outlined various plans for getting the entire assignment done and handed in on Monday.  They could work in class, then email the work home and continue working from there. I’ve put the assignment both on the assignments drive here at school, and on my personal website, allowing the students to pick up where they left off from the comfort of their home.

You’d think I was speaking Swahili.

One girl said to me, “I don’t understand how I a can send an email.”  Another said, “But  how do I combine what I’ve typed at school with what I’ve typed at home?”   Still another said, “that’s too hard to do.”

Too hard?  Excuse me?

Almost every week I am floored to discover that the skills I THINK these kids have simply don’t exist.  Every CBE student has an email and a storage locker.  But at least 70% of my students either don’t know they exist, or don’t know how to use them.  Sigh…

Maybe there needs to be an extensive course every student takes that will help them develop these digital skills.  We could teach them digital etiquette, discuss their digital footprint, and show them how to finish off work that was first started at school.  After all, aren’t these skills they will need later in life?

Now granted, the student who insisted what I was asking was simply “too hard” might have been monumentally lazy.  But there really is a shortfall in skills.  The kids who DO know what to do are leaving the rest of them behind.

Sometimes you almost miss the old textbook question and answer days…

Okay that’s not true.  Yes, they seemed easier, but there was far less critical thinking, far less imagination and independent thought.  I really think technology has made me a better teacher, but someone needs to help these kids become better students, and use that technology to its fullest potential.  Does that job fall to me, the classroom teacher?

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