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Basic Technology Advice for Students

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve covered many aspects of guiding students in their use of information and communication technologies for their courses.

For example, Ethan discussed electronic communications policies. Amy wrote about encouraging students’ problem-solving skills. Ryan covered digital etiquette in class. Jason offered 5 tips for dealing with gadgets in the classroom. And Billie provided advice regarding technology policies on course syllabi.

This semester, I’ve begun maintaining a list of tips and links under the heading “Basic Technology Advice.” The more frequently I teach in a computer classroom, the more frequently I identify things that students do (or don’t do) that can make using a computer a slower or more frustrating process than it needs to be. One example is the use of the keyboard instead of the mouse. I was somewhat surprised that most students don’t use keyboard shortcuts for commons tasks like copy, cut, paste, and save (clicking, instead, on the application menus at the top of the screen). But I was really surprised that few of them knew to use ALT-TAB to quickly switch between applications in Windows. It’s not that using keyboard commands represents some kind of super-seekrit expertise; rather, it’s that tasks can take so much longer when you rely on the mouse (over and over and over again) instead of relying on keyboard shortcuts.

I’ve uploaded my “Basic Technology Advice” document to GoogleDrive, and anyone can comment on it there. (If you sign in with your GoogleDrive account first, it will be easier to keep track of whose comments are whose.) The document is licensed Creative Commons for re-use, so please feel free to copy it and alter it for your own purposes. If you do so, I’d appreciate getting a link so that I can see what you’ve done with it.

Please provide comments directly on the GoogleDrive document, or make suggestions for additions and alterations in the comments section below. Thanks!

[Creative Commons-licensed flickr photo by S Baker]

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