Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance…

Computer Literacy

I’m not sure what it says about the world or the next generation when I (“at my age!”) have better computer skills than my young adult students. We had exams today, five hour essays, written on the computer and posted on a internet learning platform. Here are some of the struggles students have had because they…


1. own a Mac but no word processing program for Mac

2. have Open Office Org version 1.0 and wonder why spellchecker in English doesn’t work

3. (related to 2) don’t know that when the software you are using asks if you want to update you should say: Yes, please

4. don’t know that when Explorer asks if you want to upgrade you should say: Yes, please

5. refuse to download a word document from a task on our textbook’s webpage for fear of virus attack

6. can’t get their head around that an Open Office Org document can be saved in a .doc format

7. believe that anyone off the internet street can edit a wikipedia article by typing on the article itself

8. don’t know what a header is

9. don’t know how to run spellchecker

10. don’t know how to right click


One of the topics we studied in international media was internet censorship and blogging. Not one of my students (average age 19 in that class) has a website, has a blog, knows how to make a blog, has even thought of making a blog, reads blogs. 


In case you are thinking this is because we live in the backwoods of the world up here just south of the north pole, Norway is highly technological. The number of personal webpages per capita in the late 1990s was higher in Norway than in any other country in the world. 


What has happened? When I expressed surprise that none of them had a personal website they asked if I did. I have three or four, I said. At last count. 


One of the students, a girl in her early 20’s, looked puzzled for a moment and then said, But why? 


Well, I said, I’ve got different ones for, gee let’s see, my writing, my publications, my blog, my poetry blog, my photo blog, my writing course… 


Then she looked positively crestfallen and said, Nothing about teaching us?


Not yet, I said. I’ll get to it.


So here you are. One of the reasons I don’t write about my teaching is that it could embarrass if not outright compromise identifiable individuals. But, hey, what was I thinking? I can write about them all I want.


They’ll never read it.         




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Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance...

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