People in the school have said that a technological break of sorts exists within the school in terms of facility and comfort level with the 1:1, that the freshmen and sophomores are more technologically oriented, and more naturally comfortable doing, well, everything on the computer than even their couple-year elders. Students themselves have said this as have adults.

To add some data (though somewhat contradictory) to that, my Medieval Lit class is graphing one of Boccaccio’s stories. The x axis is the course of the narrative and the y axis is an interpretive element of their choice; they then plot each character through the narrative in terms of the intensity / significance of that interpretive element. To a group, all graphs are being done on paper. A few looked at me quizzically as I explained as if to say ‘How on earth could I do this on the computer?’ and when I mentioned Excel the looks became even blanker. Then the tentative question of doing it on paper was raised.

I did a similar exercise with my Classical Literature class in which they graphed Achilles’ anger in the Iliad. Simpler perhaps because there is only one character (this particular Boccaccio story has three), but to a group, all graphs were done on the computer. Some used Excel; some used LoggerPro (which I enjoyed telling my math / science colleagues about), but all were done on the computer.

Certainly, this could be an idiosyncratic difference between the two groups, but I wonder if it speaks to that fundamental difference somewhere between the ’95ers and the ’99ers (year they were born) in terms of how they view technology and its ability to be a seminal part of their lives.

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