Teaching and learning in the humanities, including philosophy, are changing rapidly as technology advances; that’s pretty much a truism when every faculty member has an email address. Now, general discussions of technology often begin with the point that pretty much every object in our lives is a technology: the pencil, the staircase, the chair. (And similarly, books are information technology.) But this is usually just said to get the point out of the way before they get to Web 2.0 and cloud computing and all the fancy new stuff people are excited about. But the most important thing I realized at this week’s NERCOMP conference is that the point has really significant implications for the way we think about technology in the humanities and academia, and about generational differences more generally.
At lunch I talked to a professor who was surprised to find that students had a hard time using a wiki; other attenders tweeted their surprise that most students had never used blogs before, when the students text and tweet and use other technologies so regularly. How could the students have a hard time with these technologies when they’re so tech-savvy?
Here’s the trick: undergraduate students are not “tech-savvy,” not in the sense that previous generations think of that term. Continue reading