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Old February 15 2013, 04:07 PM   #46
Robert Maxwell
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Re: Your job...

Something that's bothered me in the past few years is that it seems people younger than me are much less computer literate than I was at their age. Whereas computers were new and novel to me as a kid, meaning it took some effort to learn how to use them well, it seems like their ubiquity and ease of use has led the next generation to take them for granted and not really understand how to use them beyond some very, very basic use cases.
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Old February 15 2013, 04:14 PM   #47
mari
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Re: Your job...

Emher wrote: View Post
Please tell me you said the immortal praise "Hello IT, have you tried turning off and on again?"
Only to people who I know will take it well
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Old February 15 2013, 04:45 PM   #48
Robert Maxwell
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Re: Your job...

Since I have nowhere else to put this, I'll entertain/bore you all with a story from my college days, when I worked as a computer lab supervisor--essentially a glorified babysitter for clueless users.

I worked in the computer lab in the Human Performance building, where they trained future PE teachers. So, we're not talking about the most tech savvy people to begin with.

As part of their curriculum, they had a professor who believed it was vital for future teachers to know how to create a website. A good idea, really. A skill I think is valuable for most lay people to have at least some idea how to pull off.

But she (their professor) screwed it up in a few essential ways:

1. She hated Microsoft with a passion, so she forced her students to do their websites using Adobe Pagemill. Adobe Pagemill is a horrible, horrible program, or at least it was in 2000.
2. She didn't teach them even the most basic concepts of how the Web works. Things like relative vs. absolute links, media embedding, etc.
3. She gave them all a project to build a multipage personal website without really teaching them how to do it.

I had a lab full of people trying to do this assignment. They had problem after problem. They didn't understand what they were doing. After the fifth person came to me for help, I decided to take things into my own hands. I got their attention, asked if they were all there to work on the Pagemill project, and they were. So, I gave them all a crash course on how the Web works, and how to effectively do their assignment.

I had people trying to embed full videos, several megabytes in size, and store their websites on 1.44MB floppy disks. No, this does not work.

I had people embedding images stored on a local hard drive or a ZIP disk, and then they wondered why the images didn't work once they uploaded to the "live" site. Pagemill was absolute shit at understanding people intended to embed images and have them available via relative links.

The FTP functionality in Pagemill was garbage. The WYSIWYG editor was also shit. Just an awful, awful program. I ended up having some of them use Netscape Composer, which at least didn't crash constantly, and could competently put a page together. When they were done, I had them modify the header tags to indicate they'd created the pages with Pagemill instead of Composer.

I stayed open a couple hours late to make sure they all got it done. Did I mention it was due the next day? Typical college students, leaving huge projects to the night before they're due to even get started.

They all got decent grades on the assignment, at least. I was glad when I didn't end up having to deal with anything like that again.
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Old February 15 2013, 05:47 PM   #49
B.J.
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Re: Your job...

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Something that's bothered me in the past few years is that it seems people younger than me are much less computer literate than I was at their age. Whereas computers were new and novel to me as a kid, meaning it took some effort to learn how to use them well, it seems like their ubiquity and ease of use has led the next generation to take them for granted and not really understand how to use them beyond some very, very basic use cases.
Same here! Okay, my 13 y.o. son frequently *facepalms* at me when I don't know what he's talking about when he's talking about gaming, and assumes I don't understand computers. I've tried frequently (to no avail) to impress upon him that at his age, I was programming my own games! Of course, whenever he has a problem because something isn't working, and his repeated clicking the same thing over and over doesn't fix it, who does he turn to for help?
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Old February 15 2013, 06:51 PM   #50
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Re: Your job...

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Since I have nowhere else to put this, I'll entertain/bore you all with a story from my college days, when I worked as a computer lab supervisor--essentially a glorified babysitter for clueless users.
Ha, I did that too during my university course. I had people trying to use the mouse when they had a command line interface. I wept.
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Old February 16 2013, 01:51 PM   #51
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Re: Your job...

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Something that's bothered me in the past few years is that it seems people younger than me are much less computer literate than I was at their age. Whereas computers were new and novel to me as a kid, meaning it took some effort to learn how to use them well, it seems like their ubiquity and ease of use has led the next generation to take them for granted and not really understand how to use them beyond some very, very basic use cases.
Ive seen the reverse, most kids can do things with phones, computers, laptops, and of course games that are light years beyond my generation. They know how to hack, mod, root, and they basically know how everything works if not moreso.

I will say this, girls do seem to still generally lag behind boys in technical areas...my stepdaughter is quite good at figuring out software and how to work webpages, but she knows nothing about how Windows works, and what the specs or hardware in her laptop do. Perspective is lacking generally among many her age...though I am told that was common in my generation too(everyone thinks their generation is the first to do anything...mainly that is because of exponential growth where people now see the changes happening more rapidly and can't imagine what came before). For a college project she was explaining how personal computers had been around for about 15 years...about as long as she's been using them. I said she needed to do some research. lol

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