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Formal presentation: MySpace or Yours? Building Connections Between Student Computing Culture and Academic Computing Competencies (Bob King)

  • Problem: disconnect between student computing culture & what we want students to do with the computer
  • We know they’re doing something
  • Learning builds on what we already know, must connect to existing knowledge
  • When students come into academic setting, we don’t value what they know (their computing culture)
  • Problem v.2: students begin their learning by deactivating what they know, rather than building on it
  • How do we build connections between what they know & what we want them to know?
  • We don’t have to like what students already know about computing
  • We do have to know what they know, to build connections
  • So what do they know? (brainstorm)
    • They know how to communicate (with their friends, emotion based, w/o proper grammar)
    • Knowledge-construction knowledge
    • Know how to multitask, know how to skim & surf (not necessarily how to drill down)
    • They have knowledge of how to make content in a variety of media
    • They may know less than they think
    • They know how to access information and play games
    • Have an online life
    • Sherry Turkle has useful theoretical context to understand this
    • The ability to explore the unknown socially
  • What type of knowledge do they have? In either case, how do we build on it?
  • Common views of what students know (Kaiser, D. Oblinger, etc)
    • The knowledge students have is very impressive and is generational or DNA-based, of a different species, gen X, Y, or M, etc.
    • The knowledge students have is not, after all, very impressive; despite what students may think, they lack basic skills
    • The knowledge students have is market-driven and represents an encroachment on academic turf (media-culpa)
  • Student video (good stuff about information literacy!) on how they use the internet for academic & general purposes
  • Problems with generational hypothesis
    • Doesn’t really allow us to build bridges
    • Idealize students just for being young leads to classroom disconnect & ignoring students who don’t like online existence
  • One student said they’re lazy multitaskers
  • Forcing into info lit or computer training model (ignoring what they do know) makes disconnect
    • “Such views minimize the social-base of students knowledge of computing while acknowledging (barely) their information-base (they can Google, yes, but that ain’t good enough)”
  • Connection: both groups blame media
  • Proposal: cultural-ecological knowledge hypothesis
    • The significant knowledge students already have about computing is of a type that is best described as cultural-ecological
    • Not a matter of generational difference, though can be younger
    • Not a matter of knowing insignificant skills & lacking basic
  • A REALLY NEAT chart comparing student computing culture, academic computing culture
  • If we incorporate items that they do know into our teaching, build bridges
    • Highly social, highly autonomous, choice-driven, desire-driven, bricolagic, nomadic/temporary, focused on content creation
  • Real work application
    • Students create own wiki, own their own space (autonomous, choice-driven)
    • Collage, mashup, remix (bricoleur-friendly metaphors)
    • Self-selected topics
    • Focus on knowledge-construction processes including conversation, design, information skills
    • Temporal, project or performance-based structures