Is this my beautiful Internet?

Via Scholarly Kitchen, a link to this ReadWriteWeb post that many people confused for Facebook in its new incarnation.  That’s right, some people landed there via a Google search and thought they were at Facebook.  Because, really, a large majority of people don’t know the difference between an address bar and a search bar, much less how to bookmark something.  Sigh.  To me, it’s a good argument for teaching people the rudimentary elements of how the web and browsers work at a fairly early age.  I fought this (and still do, to some extent) when teaching faculty how to use technology.  The crazy ways I saw people getting to Blackboard: first, go home (which was set to the college home page), then to the library, then to “for faculty”, then click Blackboard.  Four steps instead of typing in the url.  I would often try to show them how to type it in or bookmark it.  No, I’ve got this series of steps memorized, it’s easier this way, really.  As long as people follow recipes for doing things on the Internet instead of understanding how it works, things like this will happen, and we won’t get people to use or experience the Internet critically.  One commenter wondered why all these people still had computers since they must have all fallen victim to a million phishing scams and lost all their possessions.

2 Replies to “Is this my beautiful Internet?”

  1. I have had similar experiences! I think it’s broader than just the internet–when people are in uncomfortable/unfamiliar they try to keep other things constant (like “typical Americans” who go abroad but then stay in a US chain hotel). I’ve observed this type of behavior in chemistry classes and it is a big reason that people don’t succeed in chemistry. They learn one algorithm for doing a specific type of problem and then try to apply that algorithm to everything they see. Unfortunate for them because, if they really understood why the algorithm worked, they would understand how to modify it to be useful in other problems. It’s not the students fault–it’s sypmtomatic of the way chemistry is taught–the pedegogy is “you either ‘get it’ or you don’t”. Technology seems much the same to me.


  2. Lisa, agreed. I try very much not to teach technology that way. And, of course, Mr. Geeky approaches the much higher level of computer science in a very different way. That field to is prone to the “get it or get out” mentality. I think since I’ve stepped away a bit from technology, I’ve been able to see that trend in some of my tech colleagues. I’m sure I was that way at times, too. I think science and technology also have a lot of fear surrounding them. People are afraid to mess up. Of course, what they don’t realize is that’s how most science works and how inventions come about–lots of mistakes along the way. It’s also how you learn something new. I think we need to create more space for mistakes and teach people how to learn from them.

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