Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Great Expectations

I have been putting off writing this post all day. Maybe I just had a couple of bad sessions (OK, four bad sessions) but as I see my modest plans (for incorporating social bookmarking into my study skills module) crash and burn, all I really want to do is sit in a corner and weep.

Firstly, trying to demonstrate the beauty of Diigo using the university's PCs in our IT suites failed at the first hurdle - Internet Explorer. For some unfathomable reason, the web browser freezes as soon as Diigo loads. (This doesn't seem to happen off campus).

After a wasted hour with my first group of by now rather bored and cynical students, I managed to work around this by getting the next group to spend the first few minutes of the session downloading Google Chrome, but really - should I have to?

I am trying to look on the bright side - hey! I have by now introduced some 50 students to the joys of Chrome! And most of these have now also joined Diigo, managed to handle bookmarking - and even highlighting and sticky notes using the lovely Diigolet for Chrome.

But there is more. I am witnessing, right in front of me, the workings of the digital divide.The thing is that these groups include international students, "mature" students and those with dyslexia and other difficulties. The 18 year old, straight from A levels, UK born students generally whizzed through instructions in seconds and had installed Chrome, Diigolet and highlighted their first webpage whilst I was still showing our "non traditional" students how to search for the download.

(I should also acknowledge that some new students - including the digital "residents" - have still not been able to find lecture notes on the VLE!)

Over the next few weeks, I will continue to monitor the students' use of Diigo (and the VLE come to that) to see how things progress.

It has been a salutary lesson for me, though what exactly it all means is maybe too early to tell.

1 comment:

  1. It doesn't always go the way we want :-). Technological problems are a big turn off when you are introducing people to technologies - it just reinforces their resistance. On a brighter stance, you dealt with the problem and moved on to a more successful session, learning something in the process. I guess in the long run it's part of people's (here, your students')getting familiar with technology to understand that sometimes it won't work and they'll have to find a solution to get things done :-).