It’s such a drastic problem, that one student thought it was unfair that he lose late marks on an assignment that he gave me today (Thursday), despite that the grace day was Tuesday, because he couldn’t submit it due to his incomprehension of the submission method. All the while the assignment was actually due over a month ago. (Perhaps the next post will question the purposes of assessment, and the roles of late deductions before they’re taboo.)
Despite the step by step directions I’ve found or made to walk students through the steps on how to hand in Evernote documents, Google Docs, or Dropitto.me, a majority of my students do not follow the instructions laid out for them and fail to hand their work in, often missing one little step (which makes a big difference).
What is the cause of this? I believe that learners are losing their “close reading” abilities as their skimming and scanning skills become over-powered. The internet, although it is a great contributor, is not the sole cause of this development.
Teachers format notes (and especially exams) so students cannot miss a thing. I’m even formatting this blog to make it reader friendly. We bold, highlight, enlarge, and reiterate everything we deem important so it’s not missed. It’s as if we’re saying, “forget the rest of the note, this is what you need to take away from this period.”
By catering to the students scanning skills, I feel like I’m contributing to an inability to follow step-by-step written instructions. If so, what problems will this pose for students in the future? What important documents will they struggle to complete because they jump from one bold point to the next? How will they ever assemble a bookshelf?
Do students think they’re losing focus skills as they multitask? Is technology the culprit that we put too much emphasis on in the 21c. classroom? Or is my view tainted by a few disorganized students?
See Parker's Response, David's Thoughts, or Konnor's Blog for informed student perspectives.