Intertwining Our Academic Potential and the Professional Futures of Our Students
Recently I had a laugh over coffee with my good friend Christine, who like me taught psychology at Collège André-Laurendeau. We talked about our university days, particularly the crisis period of writing a Masters thesis.
It was a while back, we were young and innocent, and the software available for researching bibliographic references, doing statistical analysis, even writing the text and sharing results was so different from what is available today! To show how far things have moved, take five minutes to watch this video capsule called Information R/Evolution! When I think back, I'm amazed at how lucky today's students are to have the Internet and other IT resources.
This brings me to the following question: Are our students able to take full advantage of these new resources? If we refer to the results of a survey on Generation C done by CEFRIO, the answer seems to be no! Notwithstanding everything that is out there, we want our students to know how to cite bibliographic sources correctly and write papers that respect certain basic rules of composition!
Mastering IT resources has become a necessity for our professional careers as well as our academic endeavors. I'll buy a drink for anyone who doesn't check email, use their word processor, google a topic or use their cell phone at least once during the upcoming AQPC Symposium!
How can we, the teachers of Generation X or Y or other, guide our students is such a way that they can efficiently and usefully profit fully from the potential of technology at the cegep? Even if we have all developed a certain technological savvy in performing our academic duties, few of us can claim to be technical experts, and I certainly do not count myself among them!
You are probably aware of the fact the the college network has numerous resources available to help us sharpen our present academic IT skills and develop our students' IT abilities. These services, however, are not always easy to identify or to use efficiently.
And that's where the IT Representative of your college comes in! The ITRep is first and above all a pedagogical counselor, an academic professional. As in your case, this does not generally mean that he or she is a computer professional! This person has nonetheless acquired an expertise which permits them to make the link between pedagogy and technology and to give reliable advice taking what you've already done and what you are interested in doing in your class to help your students master these critical IT skills into account.
As this semester comes to a close, I would like to invite you to meet with your college's IT representative. They will do their best to answer your questions, be they to further your own IT skills or develop your students' IT abilities. You will probably make surprising discoveries that you can use in your classroom in less time than you thought possible.
Between ourselves, what would be the first question that you would ask your IT Representative if you did knock on their door? I would like to know! Why not include it in a comment at the end of this column?
Given that the end of the semester is just around the corner, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a restful yet stimulating vacation.