Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The ProfHacker column over at the Chronicle of Higher Ed makes the point that just because our students are digital natives doesn't mean they know how to use technology as well or efficiently as their teachers assume. Accordingly, author George Williams has compiled some basic tips and shortcuts directed at students who want to make better use of their laptops for school work.
This semester, I’ve begun maintaining a list of tips and links under the heading “Basic Technology Advice.” The more frequently I teach in a computer classroom, the more frequently I identify things that students do (or don’t do) that can make using a computer a slower or more frustrating process than it needs to be. One example is the use of the keyboard instead of the mouse. I was somewhat surprised that most students don’t use keyboard shortcuts for commons tasks like
save(clicking, instead, on the application menus at the top of the screen). But I was really surprised that few of them knew to use
ALT-TABto quickly switch between applications in Windows. It’s not that using keyboard commands represents some kind of super-seekrit expertise; rather, it’s that tasks can take so much longer when you rely on the mouse (over and over and over again) instead of relying on keyboard shortcuts.
I’ve uploaded my “Basic Technology Advice” document to GoogleDrive, and anyone can comment on it there. (If you sign in with your GoogleDrive account first, it will be easier to keep track of whose comments are whose.) The document is licensed Creative Commons for re-use, so please feel free to copy it and alter it for your own purposes. If you do so, I’d appreciate getting a link so that I can see what you’ve done with it.