Technology in its various manifestations looms ever larger in our lives - & that includes education. For example, many schools require their students to have laptops or - more recently - ipads. I've wondered previously whether this is done for a particular pedagogical reason, or whether it's more a case of "the technology's there - let's use it!"
All this does rather assume that students are fairly tech-savvy: something along the lines of "they've grown up with all this stuff, so of course they'll know how to use it." Yes?
Well, no. this was recently brought home to me as I went through the responses to a survey a couple of colleagues & I carried out recently, looking at student use of the lecture-capture technology Panopto. One of our questions asked how they viewed recorded lectures, & as prompts offered 'computer' and 'i-pod/mp3 player'. (I put this one in because that's often how I view them.)
Most of the students chose 'computer'. Very few chose 'i-pod'. And some commented plaintively that they would have used i-pods if they'd known that option was available. Now, there's a link on the Panopto page for my class that gives the option of downloading recordings in mp3 (sound only) or mp4 format (lecture + pictures). I'd made the mistake of assuming that because a relative technological illiterate like me (hey, it doesn't take much tech knowledge to blog!) knew what to do, my students would to.
So next semester, "show them how to access recordings" is high on the list of Things To Do on the first day of class :-)
Seriously, though, I think it's important that teachers realise that students may not actually be all that familiar with some of the learning technologies that we expect them to make use of.