Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Are Facebook and Flickr Making Today's Kids Less Tech Savvy?

I stumbled on this fascinating article from The Chronicle of Higher Education that dismisses generational theory and particularly the existence of a "digital generation."

Speaking of the digital abilities of college students, the author says:

Many use Facebook and MySpace because they are easy and fun, not because they are powerful (which, of course, they are not). And almost none know how to program or even code text with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Only a handful come to college with a sense of how the Internet fundamentally differs from the other major media platforms in daily life.

College students in America are not as "digital" as we might wish to pretend.

When I got my first taste of the Internet (which is possibly the greatest thing since Jesus) as a college freshman in 1995, there was no Blogger nor WordPress, no Facebook nor MySpace, no Flickr nor Twitter. If one wanted an Internet presence, he or she would have to build a site from scratch using HTML and some sort of FTP program. If one didn't know how to create a bulleted list or format a table, he or she would have to sift through the source code of another website until he or she figured it out. (Or he or she could just ask the computer science major across the hall.) There were no shortcuts for uploading pictures and no free templates complete with their own cascading style sheets.

Kids today have it easy. Web 2.0 gives them a free and simple way to do just about anything. They have no incentive to figure out things for themselves.

Then again, I'm not one to talk. My Internet presence these days is limited to Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. To my credit, I still use HTML in my blog posts and to customize my Blogger template. Other than that, I'm pretty much a hypocrite.


Blogger rocksalive777 said...

I first learned HTML about four years ago (my junior year of high school), but immediately after the two-week unit on HTML, we spent another week learning about Dreamweaver. Kind of defeated the purpose - as soon as my class saw Dreamweaver, there was a collective flushing of HTML from our minds.

Honestly, I don't think America was ever as tech-savy as we wanted to think.

6:56 AM  

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