Youngsters and the Digital Age

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They may be Facebook or msn Messenger addicts but when it comes to using the Internet for school youngsters are not so efficient.

Since September our school is supposed to have entered the Information Age. In short, we put the students’ grades online either after each test or once a term, some teachers (not me) make their planners available to all parents, parents and teachers can check the Internet to see abstentees and absenteeism and we can be contacted via emails by students and parents alike.

Thinking that everyone was so familiar with these new tools, I decide to use them for two different purposes.

The first idea was to send an email to all the students involved in the exchange with a high school in Sweden. I needed to check if they had all established a contact with their penffriends. I therefore sent a group email to all the students concerned; all except one who had forgotten to provide his email address. I sent out one mail to 22 students three days ago and got 8 answers so far. Should I add that I had asked to answer as quickly as they could?

The second scheme was for them to send me an essay so that I could mark it during the holidays. After we had been working on schools in Britain and the United States, my students were supposed to send an interview to an American student (whose email address I had given them), write an article thanks to the answers and send me the article once it was written. They got the instructions two weeks ago, just before the start of our spring vacation.

It seemed plain and simpe, at least from my point of view. Obviously not from theirs. Some students thought I wanted the interview beforehand or maybe that it was the questions I was marking, some apparently thought I would send the interview, some wrote to say that they had sent the interview but haven’t sent the article yet while I haven’t heard from about half of them, not at all! I have the feeling that a regular article on paper would have involved fewer difficulties.

Any idea where I went wrong?