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ERIC Number: EJ1065900
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1046-3364
Going off the Grid: Re-Examining Technology in the Basic Writing Classroom
Clay-Buck, Holly; Tuberville, Brenda
Research & Teaching in Developmental Education, v31 n2 p20-25 Spr 2015
The notion that today's students are constantly exposed to information technology has become so pervasive that it seems the academic conversation assumes students are "tech savvy." The proliferation of apps and smart phones aimed at the traditional college-aged population feeds into this assumption, aided in no small part by a growing reliance by students on their electronic devices. Watch a group of students walking across a college campus and many, more likely than not, will be talking or texting on a cell phone or have ear buds firmly in place, listening to music downloaded onto a cell phone app. This level of technological proficiency, however, did not seem to line up with what we were actually seeing in our Basic Writing classrooms; they may be able to text at alarming speeds, but they had little to no skill in areas of computer literacy or other types of technologies actually used in academics. Our institution is a small regional four-year university in northeastern Oklahoma with a high percentage of Native American students and students from economically depressed areas; we also offer two-year degrees, and many of the students in our study come here for either a two-year degree or to satisfy general education requirements before transferring to larger universities in the state. While "gadgets" like smart phones are ubiquitous, practical computer applications are actually something of a mystery to a surprising number of our students. Some students had no computers at home or did not have internet access. Some came from schools with limited or non-existent computer use and education. Some had never so much as sent an email. While one may be tempted to assume these students were older, non-traditional students, our youngest students struggled with technology as much or more than their older counterparts. Our demographic of rural, economically depressed, often first generation college students does not necessarily reflect the make-up of other institutions; therefore, our particular methods may not apply to all institutions. However, we do feel that an examination of how technology is being used in the classroom, compared with the true academic technological proficiency of an institution's students, is something that bears examining. With this in mind, we decided to do a radical overhaul of our curriculum and stripped down our approach from one that was heavily dependent on online discussion forums, in-class non-interactive PowerPoints and videos, online worksheets, and online exercises to a primarily "off the grid" classroom. While we expected some change in pass rates, we never could have anticipated how successful this new approach would be. Our pass rates skyrocketed, our students were more engaged, and we as educators rediscovered the skill of personal engagement.
New York College Learning Skills Association. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oklahoma
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A