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Where we’re very polite (even when we’re ranting about things that irritate us)

This is what’s wrong with kids today

with 2 comments

The Clam posted about a proposal in Michigan to purchase iPods for every elementary and high school student in the state. I don’t have anything new to add to her analysis of the situation ’cause she did such a good job of summing up what’s wrong with the proposal (massive budget deficit, iPods aren’t necessary to listen to podcasts [the motivation for the proposed purchase] and so on), but I would like to elaborate on what this says about kids today.

I was standing in line at the Tim Horton’s in my building yesterday morning and was privy to the most enthralling bit of conversation I’ve heard in some time. The two undergrads standing behind me in line were complaining about how one of their profs doesn’t have a course website. On it’s own, this is a valid complaint. It does make things easier for the students (e.g., being able to check the syllabus) and the prof (students can’t say, “I didn’t know when the assignment was due because I lost my syllabus.”).

However, things went from the reasonable to the absurd in about 0.25 seconds. One of the students then claimed that she doesn’t understand how the prof expects her to “remember that [the professor] said the assignment is due in 3 weeks because she [the student] doesn’t write things down”.  There was some further discussion about how, in filling out the course evaluation form, the student spent a great deal of time telling the prof that she should make use of all the technology available to her.

I’ve got some advice for the student about available technology – pen and paper, stupid.

I remember in elementary school (in the 1980s, mind you, not the 1920s), when we weren’t allowed to use calculators (not just on tests, in general). Now students are getting uppity because they might be expected to actually write something down? And it’s not just about wanting profs to put up websites, it’s about posting copies of PowerPoint slides (remind me to tell you all about some of the vitriol I’ve heard directed at profs who don’t use PowerPoint at all), having someplace to plug in your laptop in the lecture hall (just in case you’re battery isn’t fully charged),  not getting a good wireless signal in some corner of the building, and so on and so forth.I

I wonder if these students realize that, for hundreds of years, people (MANY people) actually made it through university without any of this technology. Sir Isaac Newton INVENTED calculus without the use of a calculator or the internet. Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote the first ()*$(*& dictionary without a word processor. Magellan made it all the way around the world without a GPS unit. You get the idea.

I hope this reliance on technology and enormous sense of entitlement isn’t representative of EVERY young person today. If it is, and those who’ll be leading the country in a few decades (when I’m still around) still carry those same attitudes, I’m going to buy a small plot of land in northern Ontario and form my own country.


Written by The Canuck

April 13, 2007 at 10:54 am

2 Responses

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  1. Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote the first ()*$(*& dictionary without a word processor.

    He has a little help from Blackadder…



    April 16, 2007 at 8:08 am

  2. And Blackadder (with not a lot of quality help from The Prince Regent or Baldrick) did this in ONE WEEKEND.

    Joseph Tremblay

    April 16, 2007 at 8:42 am

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