my talk for flexible learning in oslo today: are today’s students digital natives?

I’m speaking in Oslo today, at the Fleksibel lÊring (flexible learning) conference at the University of Oslo. Here’s the slideshow I’ll be using. It’s in Norwegian, sorry to all you non-weegies – you might be able to follow it anyway, though.

My main point is that despite today’s students having grown up with technology, and despite their using the net extensively, they still lack very basic skills for using the net in learning at a university level – and the ways teens use the internet differently from older users (e.g. games, IM, social networking) can almost hide the fact that many of them lack skills seen as basic in what we oldies call digital literacy – such as being able to find relevant information, evaluate it, synthesize it and present it. Of course it’s also possible that they’ll simply redefine “digital literacy” so it means something else once they’re adults, but I somehow doubt it. I think actually the idea of “digital natives” is dangerous – it lets us as teachers and parents off the hook.

I absolutely love the babies on the first slide. I found them at a stock photo site, and they only cost me a dollar to download and use as much as I like with only a few reservations (I can’t make a company logo using them, or sell them to you, for instance). Actually I didn’t even pay the dollar because when you sign up you get five free credits. It’s the first time I’ve bought stock photos for presentations – usually I use creative common licenced photos (there are a few of them in the presentation too) or my own photos or I ask the photographer for permission. I love finding photos I can use as a sort of framework for building my slideshow around – my mind works well that way. And those babies are so cute.

The other improvement I’ve made to my slidemaking is using cross-platform fonts. I’ve been so fond of mac-only fonts that my slideshows look bad on Windows – or on slideshare.net. This time I found the list of fonts that both macs and Windows know about and stuck to it – and lo and behold, the result looks far better.

15. November 2007 by Jill
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